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HIV Vaccine Targets Subtype Circulating in Southern Africa

JUL 27, 2016 | SARAH ANWAR
The emergence of infectious diseases, such as Zika and Ebola, over the past few decades has caused quite a stir worldwide. Nonetheless, infection with one particular virus, HIV, remains one of the greatest threats in the world today.

HIV is not always the actual cause of death in individuals living with the virus. Opportunistic infections that would be less-dangerous in individuals who do not have weakened immune systems (a prognosis of HIV), can be life threatening. As a result, research on a cure for HIV remains paramount. Recently, there have been several breakthroughs in the fight against HIV, including trials that test an HIV vaccine that targets a specific subtype of the virus, and several prevention methods that decrease the risk of infection transmission. 

New HIV Vaccine Trial

A new clinical trial, HVTN 100, will examine a vaccine regimen specifically designed for virus subtype C, which is currently circulating the southern countries of Africa. This trial will build on the findings of the RV144 trial, led by a United States military program in Thailand, which found the vaccine to be 31.2% effective for 3.5 years after initial vaccination. 
 
Two vaccines will be used together in the regimen to be examined in the HVTN 100 trial: ALVAC-HIV, a canarypox-based vaccine produced by Sanofi Pasteur; and a protein vaccine using an adjuvant to boost immune response, produced by Novartis Vaccines. According to the press release, the Phase I/II trial will enroll 252 HIV-uninfected heterosexual adults between the ages of 18 and 40 years, who will receive eight vaccine injections over one year, after which they will receive booster shots.
 
HVTN 100, is sponsored by Pox-Protein Public-Private Partnership (P5)—which includes public as well as private organizations, such as the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)—and is part of a larger study which aims to not only create a vaccine, but also understand the body’s immune response that can prevent HIV infection.
 
The HVTN 100 trial results will be available within 2 years. 

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