Tuesday, 16 October, 2018


Harvard Researchers’ HIV Vaccine Shows Promising Results In Human Trials

AIDS activists light a group of candles placed in the shape of a red ribbon during an event marking World AIDS Day in Manila Harvard Researchers’ HIV Vaccine Shows Promising Results In Human Trials
Patty Aguilar | 10 July, 2018, 05:59

The mosaic vaccine HIV-1 vaccine produced comparable immune responses in both humans and rhesus monkeys, a phase I/IIa trial found. All the participants went through a random, double blind kind of trial which is being referred to as "mosaic" vaccine which is basically pieces of various HIV viruses, combined together to induce immune responses against the HIV strains.

Indeed, the NHP 13-19 study of 72 rhesus monkeys assigned one of five vaccine regimens or placebo found that Ad26/Ad26 plus gp140 not only induced similar types of immune responses in humans, but 67% protection against acquisition of SHIV (two-sided Fisher's exact test P=0.007). A safe and effective preventative vaccine is urgently needed to curb the HIV pandemic.

Nearly 80 million people are estimated to have been infected since the virus was first diagnosed in the early 1980s.

According to the World Health Organization, it is estimated that 37 million people live with HIV and AIDS and there are approximately 1.8 million new infections every year.

The study is the result of a collaboration among researchers at BIDMC, Harvard Medical School and the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard; the United States Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR); the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative; the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V., part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson; and multiple other partners.

In the case of the monkeys, one version of the vaccine prevented HIV infection in two-thirds of the monkeys, but this was based on a group of just 12.

Only four vaccine concepts have made it to testing in humans, and only one provided any evidence of protection in an efficacy trial, but the effect was considered too low to make it available for use. This was announced in the scientific journal Lancet. The potential development of this HIV vaccine, which is entirely safe for humans, is quite promising, and the next phase would be to test it on 2,600 women in southern Africa.

Some of the volunteers reported some side effects but the researchers said they were tolerable. We do not have a licensed prophylactic, i.e., meant to prevent disease, HIV vaccine. These results lead the researchers to believe that it might also be effective against HIV.

Dr Brady added that in the meantime there were already tools that were effective for preventing the disease from spreading, such as contraception and treatments for HIV-positive people that prevent them from passing on the virus.

"We have been here before, with promising candidate vaccines that haven't panned out", he told AFP. They recruited 393 HIV-uninfected adults age 18 to 50 from the United States, east Africa, South Africa, and Thailand between February 2015 and October 2015. It's unclear whether it would provide protection in humans.

Previous HIV-1 vaccine candidates have typically been limited to specific regions of the world.

3d rendered HIV Virus in Blood Stream in color background. Partly because there are so many different HIV strains.

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