A new HIV vaccine shows positive results in human trails

Are we on the road to an HIV vaccine?Hide Caption

"This study demonstrates that the mosaic Ad26 prime, Ad26 plus gp140 boost HIV vaccine candidate induced robust immune responses in humans and monkeys with comparable magnitude, kinetics, phenotype, and durability and also provided 67% protection against viral challenge in monkeys", says Professor Dan Barouch, Director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, who led the study, said in a press release. Known as APPROACH, the phase 1/2a trial tested seven different Ad26/Env HIV vaccine regimens for their safety, tolerability and the ability to elicit immune responses in 393 healthy adult volunteers in Rwanda, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda and the United States.

Since it is a huge discovery so the researcher needs more testing to determine if the immune response produced can prevent HIV infection in people. The subjects were reportedly aged in between eighteen to fifty years and were healthy, free from HIV.

There are 37 million across the globe who live with AIDS or HIV.

The study was conducted in 2015-2016, and in July 2017, scientists told the world about the results. It's one of only five experimental HIV-1 vaccine concepts that have gotten this far during the 35 years of the HIV pandemic. The virus is able to mutate to avoid the attack of the human immune system, so we can't develop immunity to it.

This new "mosaic" vaccine is still in its early stages, but if it passes the different trials, it will go a long way in offering protection to people around the world. The human trial participants came from 12 clinics in South Africa, east Africa, Thailand and the United States.

Researchers have since launched a phase two trial involving 2,600 participants in southern Africa to continue testing how safe and effective the HIV-1 vaccine is.

Mild side effects were common, and around 1% of people in the trial had more serious adverse reactions to the vaccine.

Both participants and researchers were "blinded" to what they'd been given, which meant the results should not have been affected by people making decisions based on what they thought their vaccination status was. But this piece of research was created to test the vaccine's safety and effectiveness at the most basic level. To date, the "mosaic" is one among the only five experimental HIV vaccines that have proceeded to efficacy human trials. To address these methodological issues, Barouch and colleagues evaluated the leading mosaic adenovirus serotype 26 (Ad26)-based HIV-1 vaccine candidates in parallel clinical and pre-clinical studies to identify the optimal HIV vaccine regimen to advance into clinical efficacy trials.

Dr Brady added that in the meantime there were already tools that were effective for preventing the disease from spreading, such as contraception and treatments for HIV-positive people that prevent them from passing on the virus. "But the data is promising and we are happy to report the immune response".

Despite the relatively good results from the human and animal trials, the researchers are careful not to be too confident in the potential vaccine. This immune response could protect the humans from the infection.

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