The NIH has announced its launching of Phase 1 clinical trial of three experimental mRNA vaccines for HIV.
The exploration comes on the tails of the successful development of several Covid-19 vaccines using the same mRNA technology (i.e., the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines).
The HIV vaccine has been something of a white whale to the clinical research industry, but the NIH hopes it will now be able to create a vaccine that prevents the onset of serious symptoms for the virus.
An mRNA vaccine works by teaching the immune system to recognize a target pathogen through a piece of its genetic material -- rather than through a deactivated piece of the virus, as is the case for other inoculations. Like the two mRNA Covid-19 vaccines, the three experimental HIV vaccines will work by presenting the spike protein found on HIV.
The trial will involve six randomly assigned groups, wherein each participant will receive three doses of their assigned vaccine candidate. The first wave will involve three groups each receiving 100µg of their respective vaccine upon arrival, then at two months and six months after the trial begins. If the safety profile is deemed acceptable, the next group will receive 250µg doses of their assigned vaccines following the same schedule.
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