Moderna HIV vaccine trials begin on humans

Researchers have begun dispersing Phase 1 doses of an experimental HIV vaccine that uses the same mRNA technology as Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine.

The IAVI G002 study is underway and is experimenting with a vaccine that delivers HIV-specific antigens to the body to provoke an immune response.

Despite 40 years of study since the discovery of HIV, a vaccine has remained elusive.

Last year, research that sparked expectations for an HIV vaccine failed after an initial review revealed it was no more effective than a placebo.

It was the fifth full-scale human study of an HIV vaccine, with 1.5 million individuals newly infected worldwide in 2020, according to U.N. data.

Professor David Diemert, a George Washington University immunologist, said: “The Covid pandemic really demonstrated the success of mRNA vaccines.

“And so, the path from discussing its application for HIV to a Phase 1 clinical trial happened at an accelerated pace.

“With these new mRNA vaccines, we’re on the cutting edge of innovative vaccine strategies for HIV.”

The current research, which is partially supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will follow 56 HIV-negative adults to determine the vaccine’s safety and efficacy.

A total of 48 participants will get at least one dose of the initial vaccination, with 32 receiving the booster as well.

A booster shot will be given to the remaining eight participants.

For six months the scientists will track the group’s immunological response, HIV status, and vaccination safety.

Written by Emily Herbert

Emily Herbert

BA Journalism at University of Leicester

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