US state research agency, National Institutes of Health (NIH), has announced the first phase of trial of a preventive HIV vaccine candidate has commenced in the United States and South Africa.
This trial, known as HVTN 142, aims to evaluate the safety of the virus labeled VIR-1388, and its ability to stimulate an HIV-specific immune response in participants.
VIR-1388 is designed to instruct the immune system to produce T cells capable of recognizing HIV and triggering an immune response to prevent the virus from establishing a chronic infection.
It utilizes a cytomegalovirus (CMV) vector, a weakened version of the virus that delivers the HIV vaccine material to the immune system without causing disease in study participants.
The trial will involve 95 HIV-negative participants who will be randomly assigned to one of four study groups: three groups will receive different doses of the vaccine, while one group will receive a placebo.
To ensure participant safety, the study will only enroll individuals already living with asymptomatic CMV.
Initial results from the vaccine are anticipated in late 2024, while other volunteers will be monitored for up to three years after their initial vaccine dose.
This trial represents a significant step in the ongoing efforts to develop an effective HIV vaccine, which has been a long-standing goal in the field of HIV research.