Clinical Trial for Preventive HIV Vaccine Begins in the United States and South Africa
A groundbreaking Phase 1 clinical trial for a preventive HIV vaccine called VIR-1388 has recently commenced in the United States and South Africa. The vaccine, which aims to induce an HIV-specific immune response to prevent chronic infection, is being funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
What sets VIR-1388 apart is its use of a cytomegalovirus (CMV) vector to deliver the HIV vaccine material without causing disease in participants. CMV has been present in much of the global population for centuries, making it an ideal carrier for the HIV vaccine as it has the potential to retain the vaccine material for a longer period.
The NIAID has been at the forefront of funding the development of the CMV vaccine vector since 2004 and has partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Vir Biotechnology for this trial. Together, they aim to explore the efficacy and safety of VIR-1388 in preventing HIV transmission.
The trial, conducted through the NIAID-funded HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), will enroll 95 HIV-negative participants at six sites in the United States and four sites in South Africa. Participants will be assigned to different study arms to receive varying doses of the vaccine or a placebo.
The initial results of this groundbreaking clinical trial are expected to be released in late 2024. Additionally, an optional long-term sub-study will follow volunteers for up to three years after their first vaccine dose to gather further data on the vaccine’s long-term effects.
Dr. Carl Dieffenbach, the Director of NIAID’s Division of AIDS, is available for interviews and to provide more information about the trial. Researchers and the medical community at large are eagerly awaiting the results of this clinical trial, as a successful preventive HIV vaccine would be a major breakthrough in global efforts to combat the HIV epidemic.