The first doses of a vaccine against page with RNA technology messenger have been administered to humans, the US biotech company announced Thursday. Modern and the International Initiative for AIDS vaccine.
The so-called phase 1 trial will be carried out in U.S in 56 healthy adults and without HIV. Despite four decades of research, scientists have yet to develop a vaccine against this disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people every year.
However, the recent successes of messenger RNA technology, which has enabled the development of Covid-19 vaccines in record time, including Moderna’s, have raised hopes.
The objective of the vaccine being tested is to stimulate the production of a certain type of antibody (bnAb), capable of acting against the numerous circulating variants of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
The vaccine aims to educate the B cells, which are part of our immune system, to produce these antibodies.
To do this, the trial will test the injection of an initial immunogen, that is, a substance capable of eliciting an immune response, and a booster immunogen injected later. They will be delivered via messenger RNA technology.
“The production of bnAbs is widely considered to be a target of HIV vaccination, and this is a first step in that process,” the statement said.
“Other immunogens will be needed to guide the immune system on the right path, but this combination of a booster and a booster could be the key first component of a potential HIV vaccine regimen,” said David Diemert, lead scientist on the trial at one of the four centers where it takes place, the George Washington University.
The immunogens used were developed by the scientific research organization International Initiative for the AIDS vaccine (IAVI) and the Scripps Research Institute, with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the US National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIAD), and Moderna.
Last year, a first trial, which did not use messenger RNA but tested the first immunogen, showed that the desired immune response was obtained in several dozen participants. The next step was to collaborate with Moderna.
Given the speed with which messenger RNA vaccines can be produced, this platform offers a more flexible and responsive approach to testing and designing a vaccine.
“The search for an HIV vaccine is long and difficult, and having new tools in terms of immunogens and platform could be key to making rapid progress,” said Mark Feinberg, director of IAVI.