Early-Stage HIV Vaccine Shows Positive Results In Human Trials: Study

In a phase 1 research, 97% of patients had immune system activity in response to the vaccine.

Early-Stage HIV Vaccine Shows Positive Results In Human Trials: Study

An experimental HIV vaccine candidate has shown promising results.

An early trial for an experimental HIV vaccine candidate has produced encouraging findings, which might be considered a significant step forward in the hunt for a treatment for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

The findings of the clinical trial, which were released on December 1, World AIDS Day, in the academic journal Science, provide "clinical proof of concept" in favour of creating boosting regimens to stimulate immune responses against HIV infection, which currently has no known treatment.

The vaccine had a favorable safety profile and induced VRC01-class responses in 97% (35 of 36) of vaccine recipients with median frequencies reaching 0.1% among immunoglobulin G memory B cells in blood. 

The vaccine candidate is known as eOD-GT8 60mer, and it produced broadly neutralising antibodies in a few volunteer subjects. The results show that two doses of the vaccine given eight weeks apart can induce immunological reactions against the human immunodeficiency virus.

According to CNN, antibodies are proteins made by the immune system to help fight infections, and broadly neutralizing antibodies are known to neutralize many genetic variants of HIV, but they have been difficult to elicit by vaccination.

Also Read | HIV Infections In Numbers Around The World

"Learning how to induce broadly neutralising antibodies against pathogens with high antigenic diversity, such as HIV, influenza, the hepatitis C virus, or the family of betacoronaviruses, represents a grand challenge for rational vaccine design," the researchers wrote. "Germline-targeting vaccine design offers one potential strategy to meet this challenge."

The eOD-GT8 60mer vaccine candidate is germline-targeting, meaning it was designed to induce the production of broadly neutralising antibodies by targeting and stimulating the right antibody-producing cells.

AIDS has so far claimed the lives of 40.1 million people. At the end of 2021, there were 38.4 million HIV-positive individuals worldwide, with 25.6 million of them living in the African Region. If the World Health Organization's figures are to be believed, HIV/AIDS is one of the biggest global public health problems.

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