NIH Launches Clinical Trial of Three mRNA HIV Vaccines

NIH has launched one of the first Phase 1 clinical trials to examine mRNA technology for HIV.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has launched one of the first Phase 1 clinical trials to examine mRNA technology for HIV. The trial is focusing on three experimental HIV vaccines and is being conducted by the NIAID-funded HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN).

mRNA vaccines work by training the immune system to recognize and remember viruses by delivering a piece of genetic material that instructs the body to make a protein fragment of a target pathogen. If the body is later exposed to that pathogen, it can induce a substantial immune response.

The three vaccine candidates are designed to mimic the spike protein found on the surface of HIV that allows entry into human cells. The study will determine if the vaccine candidates are safe and can successfully induce an immune response. None of the three vaccine candidates can cause HIV infections.

“Finding an HIV vaccine has proven to be a daunting scientific challenge,” said Anthony S. Fauci, MD, NIAID director, in a press release. “With the success of safe and highly effective COVID-19 vaccines, we have an exciting opportunity to learn whether mRNA technology can achieve similar results against HIV infection.”

Source: NIH