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After initial tests, HIV vaccine trial on 2600 African women

09 July 2018

All the new vaccine combinations showed to be safe, and produced the anti HIV response.

This is one of only five experimental HIV-1 vaccine concepts that have progressed to efficacy trials in humans in the 35 years of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The researchers who carried out the trial published their findings in The Lancet. An estimated 37 million people live with HIV/Aids, according to the World Health Organisation. A safe and effective preventative vaccine is urgently needed to curb the HIV pandemic.

So far, a major limitation has been the lack of direct comparability between preclinical studies and clinical trials.

In this study, the researchers aimed to evaluate mosaic adenovirus serotype 26-based HIV-1 vaccine candidates.

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Condoms are still at the frontline of efforts to prevent infection - mainly through sex and blood contact - though more and more people use ART as prophylaxis. A vaccine, on the other hand, involves just a single dose.

While pre-exposure prophylaxis, or Prep, is a prescription drug that now prevents HIV, it is a once-daily pill and only prevents infection if it is taken regularly.

But despite advances in treatment for HIV, both a cure and a vaccine for the virus have so far remained elusive. This is not the case with the vaccine.

The new so-called mosaic vaccine is composed of proteins of various strains of this virus, so ideally should be universal protection. The virus is also able to mutate, thus eluding attack from the human immune system. The achievement was considered to be too small for the drug to go ahead and come into the market as a HIV vaccine. It consists of pieces of many different viruses. There are limitless HIV strains across the world.

Study participants in the APPROACH trial were taken from 12 clinics located in east Africa, South Africa, Thailand and the USA.

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Every vaccine combination produced an anti-HIV immune system response. He is a principal investigator on the study, and also a co-author of the study.

"The full value of the monkey-to-human immunogenicity comparison reported in the study will be best assessed upon completion of the efficacy trial", the editorialists wrote. They gave the monkeys the HIV-1 vaccine to protect against a simian-human immunodeficiency virus, i.e., HIV that infects monkeys. "Moreover, the vaccine provided 67 percent protection against viral challenge in monkeys". He is also a professor at Harvard Medical School.

Based on the results from phase 1 and phase 2a clinical trials that involved almost 400 healthy adults in Rwanda, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda and the United States, a phase 2b trial has been initiated in southern Africa to determine the safety and efficacy of the HIV-1 vaccine candidate in 2,600 women at risk for acquiring HIV.

While the researchers say these results are a step in the right direction, a new round of testing must occur to prove the drug is effective in staving off the disease in humans.

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After initial tests, HIV vaccine trial on 2600 African women