A glimmer of hope in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic has begun to shine following the early-stage clinical trials of an HIV mRNA vaccine launched by pharmaceuticals giant, Moderna. The biotechnology company announced that it had teamed up with the nonprofit International AIDS Vaccine Initiative to develop the shot, which uses the same technology as Moderna’s successful COVID-19 vaccine. The first doses have been administered in a clinical trial of experimental HIV vaccine antigens at George Washington University (GWU) School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C.
“We are tremendously excited to be advancing this new direction in HIV vaccine design with Moderna’s mRNA platform. The search for an HIV vaccine has been long and challenging, and having new tools in terms of immunogens and platforms could be the key to making rapid progress toward an urgently needed, effective HIV vaccine,” Dr. Mark Feinberg, President, and CEO of IAVI said in a statement.
The company said on Thursday that the Phase 1 trial, IAVI G002, is designed to test the hypothesis that sequential administration of priming and boosting HIV immunogens delivered by messenger RNA (mRNA) can induce specific classes of B-cell responses and guide their early maturation toward broadly neutralizing antibody (bnAb) development. The induction of bnAbs is widely considered to be a goal of HIV vaccination, and this is the first step in that process. The immunogens being tested in IAVI G002 were developed by scientific teams at IAVI and Scripps Research and will be delivered via Moderna’s mRNA technology
“We are very pleased to be partnering with IAVI and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to apply our mRNA technology in the setting of HIV. At Moderna, we believe that mRNA offers a unique opportunity to address critical unmet public health needs around the world,” said Stephen Hoge, M.D., President of Moderna.
“We believe advancing this HIV vaccine program in partnership with IAVI and Scripps Research is an important step in our mission to deliver on the potential for mRNA to improve human health,” added, Hoge.