The University of Oxford has launched a Phase I trial of a novel mosaic vaccine targeting a ‘broad range’ of HIV variants.
The HIV-CORE 0052 trial, part of the European Aids Vaccine Initiative, will involve 13 healthy HIV-negative adults aged 18 to 65 years old who are not considered to be at a high risk of infection.
The participants will receive one dose of the vaccine – known as the HIVconsvX vaccine – followed by a further boost dose at four weeks.
HIVconsvX, unlike other HIV vaccine candidates which are designed to induce antibodies generated by B-cells, is designed to induce the immune system’s T cells and targeting them to highly conserved and vulnerable regions of HIV.
“An effective HIV vaccine has been elusive for 40 years. This trial is the first in a series of evaluations of this novel vaccine strategy in both HIV-negative individuals for prevention and in people living with HIV for cure,” said Tomáš Hanke, lead researcher on the trial and professor of vaccine immunology at the Jenner Institute, University of Oxford.
“There is strong evidence that undetectable HIV viral load prevents sexual transmission. Nevertheless, the pace of decline in new HIV infections failed to reach the Fast-Track Target agreed upon by the United Nations General Assembly in 2016: fewer than 500,000 new infections per year in 2020.
“Even in the broader context of increasing antiretroviral treatment and prevention, an HIV-1 vaccine remains the best solution and likely a key component to any strategy ending the AIDS epidemic,” he added.
Although the initial trial will take place in the UK, researchers also have plans to start similar HIV vaccine trials in Europe, Africa, and the US.
Meanwhile, the Oxford investigators are anticipating results from the HIV-CORE 0052trial will be reported by April 2022.