Could an HIV vaccine be on the way? We’ll see how a recently launched clinical trial goes before we can tell for sure.
Accordign to PharmaTimes, researchers at the University of Oxford in England have started trials for a potential breakthrough vaccine. The proposed vaccine, titled HIVconsvX, is attempting to target a range of HIV variants. HIVconsvX is a mosaic vaccine, meaning it combines several strains of the virus and exposes the immune system to various variants. The vaccine was then designed to target the weakest areas of HIV in the body.
As University of Oxford professor Tomas Hanke told CTVNews, “Most of the field has been focusing on protection through the use of broadly neutralizing antibodies. Our vaccine aims to use killer T cells.”
He added, “When [the] virus gets into the body, it infects cells, and they start to produce more of the viruses and spread the infection, and our killer T cells are going to kill these virus factories in the bodies before it can hopefully establish a generalized infection.”
“An effective HIV vaccine has been elusive for 40 years,” Tomáš Hanke, the trial’s lead researcher and a professor of vaccine immunology at Oxford, told Johnson & Johnson. “This trial is the first in a series of evaluations of this novel vaccine strategy in both HIV-negative individuals for prevention and in people living with HIV for [a] cure.”
Again, the clinical trials are just beginning. In the U.S. the FDA mandates that potential drug must go through three trials’ worth of data before it can possibly get approved for release. This first trial’s purpose to assess HIVconsvX’s safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity. The trail involved 13 HIV-negative and low-risk of HIV infection U.K. citizens aged 18 to 65. Trial participants will receive one dose of the vaccine and a booster shot four weeks later.
We’ll see how this phase 1 trials fairs when results are released in April 2022.