AIDS: several HIV vaccines currently studied

Published by Laurent P. · Published on 13 April 2021 at 15h28
A new step in the fight against AIDS… After researchers from the Vaccine Research Institute (VRI) announced they are launching a clinical trial this past February 25, American research institute Scripps and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative announced, this Sunday April 11, a major breakthrough in their works: they managed to launch the process to make the body creates anibodies able to neutralize a large range of viral strains, HIV included.

Good news amid the fight against AIDS...  Scientists from the American research institute Scripps, as well as the Internationla AIDS Vaccine Initiative announced this Sunday April 11 they managed to incite the body to create antibodies able to neutralize a large range of viral strains. A major pharmaceutical breakthrough over 30 years of work on the matter.

"We though we'd never be able to produce these broadly neutralizing antibodies we hope will be able to stop VIH's incredible ability to mutate", Créteil Henri-Mondor hospital head of clinical immunology and infectious diseases Pr. Jean-Daniel Lelièvre explained to Le Figaro. But finding a VIH vaccine remains difficult as the virus can mutate quickly, even faster than the body can produce immune response.

And according to the primary results of this study, this candidate vaccine is said to induce a 97% immune response. "It is the most effective experimental AIDS vaccine to date" Doctor Ayoade Olantunbosun-Alakija - former chief coordinator of humanitarian aid in Nigeria. It consisted in two groups - including a total of 48 volunteers, the clinical trial completing phase 1. In the 48 people taking part in the study, half of them have been given two doses of vaccine, while the other half was given placebo. Therefore, 23 of the 24 people given the vaccine developed an immune response.

"This study demonstrates proof of principle for a new vaccine concept for HIV, a concept that could be applied to other pathogens as wellScripps immunologist William Schief explained. He added that research laboratories teamed up with Moderna to produce the vaccine in the event trials were conclusive. A collaboration bearing a lot of sense since the next step for laboratories is to test their strategy with mRNA vaccine.

The study of the Vaccine Research Institute, another hope in the fight against AIDS

But they are not the only ones to be working on the cretion of a vaccine... The VRI - or Vaccine Research Institute - announced this Thursday February 25 they are launching the first in-human clinical trial phase for HIV vaccine, and are currently looking for 72 candidates to test the product by April.

candidate vaccine called "CD40.HIVRI.Env". A never-before-seen vaccine since none of vaccines marketed look like this one. And for good reason: this one stimulates the dendritic cells, needed to fight against the virus in one’s body.

How does this vaccine work? It is based – as told by our peers from Francetvinfo – on antibodies “to which are attached HIV fragments” directly aiming at the dendritic cells in order to spark an immune reaction. “Firstly, we target the good cells, then we go after the pieces of virus, in this case the envelope of HIV which allows it to enter the body. Next, we stimulate the dendritic cells, therefore the immunity. Finally, as we have targeted the good elements of good cells, we don’t need a vast quantity of the vaccine” VRI director running this trial Pr. Yves Levy explains.

This first in-human clinical trial phase will enable to see if vaccine is tolerated by the human body or not, and if it starts immune response. A study likely to be also used in the fight against Covid… And for good reason: researchers from the institute are also working on a variant vaccine, based on the same pattern, with antibodies to which are attached fragments of the virus, directly aiming at the dendritic cells.

For the record, a vaccine was already subject to study, in 2009, but not successfully. In France, over 170,000 people are contaminated with AIDS, and 25,000 do not know they are carrying the disease. All in all, 6,200 cases are reported every year.

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