A new hope against AIDS after forty years of research. Moderna announced Thursday, January 27, to enter a first phase of clinical trials for its messenger RNA vaccine aimed at neutralizing HIV. The first doses were injected into volunteers.
The American biotechnology company, accompanied by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, has indicated that the trials will be carried out in the territory of the United States on 56 healthy and HIV-negative adults.
News that also recalls the boost that messenger RNA vaccine technology has been able to give to the health sector, in particular against Covid-19.
In fact, Moderna would have designed a vaccine capable of stimulating the production of antibodies (bnAb) which have been shown to be able to attack the many variants of HIV, the virus responsible for the disease AIDS. According to the researchers, this vaccine would “educate the B lymphocytes, which are part of our immune system, to produce these antibodies”.
A first reliable immunogen?
This experimental vaccine candidate is limited, for the time being, to the injection of an immunogen identified by the laboratories. This substance would be able to provoke a first immune response. At the same time, a booster immunogen will be injected afterwards, is it detailed.
ANNOUNCEMENT : We are proud to announce that the first participant has been dosed in the Phase 1 study of mRNA-1644, our experimental #HIV #mRNA #vaccine candidate. Learn more about this exciting venture with @IAVI: https://t.co/apeIJpPbxz pic.twitter.com/1fON4j9hP7
— Modern (@moderna_tx) January 27, 2022
The good news is that the identified immunogen had already demonstrated a positive immune response against HIV and its variants last year. But, it had not been delivered via Messenger RNA technology. “Given the speed with which messenger RNA vaccines can be produced, this platform provides a more flexible and responsive approach to vaccine testing and design,” Moderna said in a statement. The trial phases are expected to last until 2023.
An important first step for research
“Other immunogens will be needed to guide the immune system on (the right) path, but this combination of boost and boost could be the first key element of a possible HIV vaccine regimen,” he said. to the media David Diemert, chief scientist of the trial at George Washington University.
Alongside research on a vaccine, other work is working on an effective and less restrictive treatment than those currently proposed. France currently lists approximately 180,000 AIDS patients. Worldwide, there are 38 million patients, according to the latest figures for 2019 provided by the WHO.