Trials On mRNA Vaccine Against HIV

The biotech firm Moderna has started trials on an mRNA vaccine against HIV, which uses a novel approach to elicit broadly neutralising HIV-1 antibodies (bNAbs) and eventually target multiple HIV strains.

First doses of the experimental HIV vaccine antigens were administered at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington DC this week.

The vaccine uses the same technology as Moderna’s Covid 19 vaccine. It uses mRNA, or messenger RNA, which teaches the body’s cells how to make proteins that trigger immune response.

BNAbs are produced by certain types of B cells, which are rare: one in 300,000 B cells have this capability. The vaccine aims to stimulate production of bnAbs that can act against many variants of HIV.

The trial

The MODERNA/IAVI study is a phase 1, randomised, first-in-human, open label study to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccines, mRNA-1644 and mRNA-1644v2-Core, in HIV-uninfected individuals.

Fifty-six individuals will be randomised in four groups and safety/immunogenicity results will be available in 2023.