a retrospective analysis of three randomized trials from Guinea-Bissau
BACKGROUND: In Guinea-Bissau we conducted three trials of neonatal vitamin A supplementation (NVAS) from 2002 to 2008. None of the trials found a beneficial effect on mortality. From 2003 to 2007, an early measles vaccine (MV) trial was ongoing, randomizing children 1:2 to early MV at 4.5 months or no early MV, in addition to the usual MV at 9 months. We have previously found interactions between vitamin A and vaccines. OBJECTIVE: We investigated whether there were interactions between NVAS and early MV. DESIGN: We compared the mortality of NVAS and placebo recipients: first, from 4.5 to 8 months for children randomized to early MV or no early MV; and second, from 9 to 17 months in children who had received two MV or one MV. Mortality rates (MR) were compared in Cox models producing mortality rate ratios (MRR). RESULTS: A total of 5141 children were randomized to NVAS (N=3015) or placebo (N=2126) and were later randomized to early MV (N=1700) or no early MV (N=3441). Between 4.5 and 8 months, NVAS compared with placebo was associated with higher mortality in early MV recipients (MR=30 versus MR=0, p=0.01), but not in children who did not receive early MV (p for interaction between NVAS and early MV=0.03). From 9 to 17 months NVAS was not associated with mortality. Overall, from 4.5 to 17 months NVAS was associated with increased mortality in early MV recipients (Mortality rate ratio=5.39 (95% confidence interval: 1.62, 17.99)). CONCLUSIONS: These observations indicate that NVAS may interact with vaccines given several months later. This may have implications for the planning of future child intervention programs.