Biotech firm Moderna and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative have commenced the Testing of a HIV vaccine which uses messenger RNA technology in humans in the United States of America.
It was reported that the Phase 1 testing is being carried out among 56 healthy adults who are HIV-negative.
Despite four decades of research, doctors have yet to develop a vaccine to protect people from the virus that causes AIDS, which kills hundreds of thousands of people around the world every year.
But hopes have been stirred with the success of mRNA technology, which allowed for the development of Covid-19 vaccines in record time, including one from Moderna.
The goal of the vaccine now being tested is to stimulate the production of a kind of antibody called “broadly neutralizing antibodies,” or bnAbs, which can act against the many variants of HIV that are circulating today.
The vaccine is expected to teach B lymphocytes, which are part of the immune system, to generate these antibodies.
In this trial, participants are injected with an immunogen a substance that can trigger an immune response and then a booster immunogen later.
These substances will be delivered with mRNA technology.
“The induction of bnAbs is widely considered to be a goal of HIV vaccination, and this is the first step in that process,” Moderna and the IAVI, a research organization, said in a statement.
“Further immunogens will be needed to guide the immune system on this path, but this prime-boost combination could be the first key element of an eventual HIV immunization regimen,” said David Diemert, a lead investigator at one of the four sites where the trial is being carried out, George Washington University in the US capital.