Scripps Research and IAVI report positive findings from HIV vaccine Phase I trial

pharmafile | February 4, 2021 | News story | |  HIV 

Scripps Research and IAVI have returned positive Phase I results in their hunt for a HIV vaccine, detecting a targeted response in 97% of participants who took part in the trial.

The novel vaccine approach to prevent HIV, which affects more than 38 million people around the world, attempts to stimulate the production of rare immune cells needed to start the process of generating antibodies against the fast-mutating virus.

The vaccine approach works by triggering naïve B cells to induce broadly neutralising antibodies (bnAbs), which could attach to HIV spikes and disable them by accessing regions that do not vary much between strains.

The study will lead to further clinical trials, with the long-term goal being to develop a safe and effective HIV vaccine – the first of its kind.

William Schief, PhD, Immunologist at Scripps Research and Executive Director of Vaccine Design at IAVI’s Neutralizing Antibody Center, whose laboratory developed the vaccine, said: “This study demonstrates proof of principle for a new vaccine concept for HIV, a concept that could be applied to other pathogens, as well.

“With our many collaborators on the study team, we showed that vaccines can be designed to stimulate rare immune cells with specific properties, and this targeted stimulation can be very efficient in humans.”

Dr Mark Feinberg, PhD, President and CEO of IAVI, commented: “Given the urgent need for an HIV vaccine to rein in the global epidemic, we think these results will have broad implications for HIV vaccine researchers as they decide which scientific directions to pursue.”

Both Scripps Research and IAVI are working with Moderna to develop and test an mRNA utilising this approach – it is hoped this can help speed up vaccine development for HIV, which can lead to the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Jack Goddard

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