Moderna To Begin Human Trials For HIV Vaccine

Biotechnology company, Moderna, is expected to start human trials for HIV vaccines on Wednesday. The company will be using the same mRNA platform as the firm's Covid-19 vaccine.

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Human trials for a HIV vaccine will begin on Wednesday through Moderna, the Biotechnology company responsible for the SpikeVax Moderna Covid vaccine.

According to a new submission to the US National Institutes of Health Clinical Trial registry, the first phase of the trial will reportedly involve 56 healthy adults aged 18 to 50 who do not have HIV. These trials will test the safety of the vaccine as well as look for a basic immune response.

Moderna has two HIV vaccine candidates, mRNA-1644 and mRNA-1644v2-Core, both of which have cleared initial safety testing before being used on humans for the first time.

Research into an HIV vaccine has been ongoing for decades, but many that reached the trial stage were found to be unsafe, and almost none demonstrated anything close to moderate effectiveness.

The most promising study to date is one that was run in Thailand during the 2000s and was found to reduce infections by 30% but scientists were divided on the trial results as they proved to be controversial.

Furthermore, according to biospace, another trial in the same period had to be stopped after it seemed to increase the risk of HIV infections.

What differentiates the Moderna HIV vaccine candidate, is that none of the previous HIV vaccine candidates were developed using mRNA.

Scientists are hopeful that this will lead to an HIV breakthrough since the mRNA platform has shown to be safe and effective with Covid-19.

According to Dr. Rajesh Gandhi, an infectious disease expert who chairs the HIV Medicine Association:

The mRNA platform makes it easy to develop vaccines against variants because it just requires an update to the coding sequences in the mRNA that code for the variant.

biospace further reports that it is important to note that HIV is not SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. HIV infects T-cells, the immune cells that fight viruses and other pathogens, while SARS-CoV-2 primarily infects respiratory cells.

mRNA technology may be promising for an HIV vaccine, but only time will tell, although the impact would be enormous.

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