Moderna has launched a clinical trial for its experimental HIV vaccine which uses the same mRNA technology harnessed for its Covid jab.
The trial is being funded, in part, by none other that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
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The biotechnology company recruited 56 volunteers, who do not have the HIV virus, to test the jab which is expected to ‘trigger an immune response in the same way as its Covid vaccine’
The first participants got their experimental jabs at George Washington University last month.
The Mail Online reports: Moderna is testing two different jabs that are expected to give instructions to the body’s cells to produce a protein that is found on the surface of HIV particles.
This should train the immune system to recognise that protein and develop neutralising antibodies that protect against a range of different HIV strains.
Professor David Diemert, an immunologist at George Washington University, said: ‘The Covid pandemic really demonstrated the success of mRNA vaccines.
‘And so the path from discussing its application for HIV to a Phase I clinical trial happened at an accelerated pace.
‘With these new mRNA vaccines, we’re on the cutting edge of innovative vaccine strategies for HIV.’
Moderna is also developing an mRNA vaccine for seasonal flu, as well as a combined annual Covid and flu booster jab.
Despite 40 years of research since HIV was first identified, a vaccine has been elusive.
But scientists around the world, including at Oxford University, are trialling jabs in the hopes of preventing infection and curing the disease.
Moderna’s trial, which it is running in partnership with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), will determine if its vaccine triggers neutralising antibodies.
This immune response is ‘widely considered to be a goal of HIV vaccination and this is the first step in that process’, Moderna said.
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