Researchers at the University of Oxford have started conducting clinical trials for a new vaccine that could provide protection against a wide range of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) strains, according to BioSpace.
Previous research has studied HIV vaccines that were designed to induce B-cell antibodies.
Now, part of the European Aids Vaccine Initiative is aiming to study how inducing T-cell antibodies and directing them to vulnerable and highly conserved regions of HIV can help curb infection, according to the news outlet.
The new experimental vaccine, called HIVconsvX, will be undergoing Phase 1 trials. The researchers will study the vaccine candidate in 13 healthy adults aged between 18 and 65 who are HIV negative and do not have high-risk statuses for infection.
The researchers will administer one dose of the experimental vaccine and then another booster dose after four weeks to all the participants.
Lead researcher of the trial Prof. TomášHanke said, “There is strong evidence that undetectable HIV viral load can prevent transmission during sex. However, the rate of the decline in infections still falls short of the Fast-Track target of fewer than 500,000 infections per year in 2020, which was agreed on in 2006.”
Hanke is a professor of vaccine immunology at Oxford’s Jenner Institute.
“An effective HIV vaccine has been elusive for 40 years,” he added. “This trial is the first in a series of evaluations of this novel strategy in both HIV-negative individuals for prevention and in people living with HIV for cure.”
“Even in the broader context of increasing anti-retroviral treatment and prevention, an HIV-1 vaccine remains the best solution and likely a key component to any strategy ending the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic,” Prof. Hanke explained.
The trials will be conducted in the United Kingdom, though the researchers are also planning to conduct the trials in Africa, Europe, and the United States.
The team said the findings of the Phase 1 trial are expected to be rerelease by April 2022.
Reports dub the HIVconsvX vaccine as “mosaic” because it has the potential to target a wide spectrum of HIV-1 variants, thus increasing the possibility that, if successful, it would be used to address HIV-related illnesses worldwide, accusing to BioSpace.
If approved, the vaccine will eventually be distributed across the globe – the same way companies are currently doing with the COVID vaccines.
HIV or AIDS is incurable, but antiretroviral therapy (ART) does exist and it can reduce the amount of the virus in the body, preventing AIDS itself from developing.
Moet people diagnosed with HIV have been able to control the virus within six months with early and proper medical intervention.
For years, scientists have been continuing to seek ways to develop drugs and vaccines that can address HIV and eradicate it completely.
The Trump administration had declared an initiative to reduce HIV infections by 75% in the United States by 2025. It said the goal is to prevent at least 90% of cases by 2030.
The Biden administration has committed to continue with this initiative.
The article was published in BioSpace.