While everyone’s talking about the many coronavirus vaccines, it looks like an HIV vaccine trial is showing some promising results.
According to ABC News, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California are in the middle of conducting an early-stage clinical trial for a new HIV vaccine. What’s promising about this potential vaccine is that it aims to help the body adapt to the virus. Because HIV mutates rapidly and has many different subtypes, scientists and health experts have yet to find a way to combat all its different versions. This new vaccine is a novel attempt at combating that by helping the body develop “broadly neutralizing antibodies.”
According to IAVI CEO Dr. Mark Feinberg, Ph.D., the research is based on “identification of a subset of HIV-infected individuals … who, in the course of their infection, do make so-called broadly neutralizing antibodies, which basically means these antibodies are able to potently block infection of diverse HIV variants, and that is the key goal.”
Again, the early trial is coming back with good results. According to HIVPlusMag, 48 HIV-negative adults participated in the phase 1 clinical trial. The test subjects received two doses, two months apart, of either the vaccine or a placebo. The resulting data showed that 97% of the subjects who received the vaccine had early evidence that their immune system may be able to make the before-mentioned broad antibodies.
“This study demonstrates proof of principle for a new vaccine concept for HIV, a concept that could be applied to other pathogens, as well,” William Schief, Ph.D., a professor and immunologist at Scripps Research and executive director of vaccine design at IAVI’s Neutralizing Antibody Center, said in a statement.
“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,” he added. “We believe this approach will be key to making an HIV vaccine and possibly important for making vaccines against other pathogens.”
Keep in mind, this is just an early trial. As promising as the results may be, more studies are necessary to develop this potential HIV vaccine. That said, there is still some room to celebrate and hope. It may take years, but a promising new light may have just poked through the horizon.