Moderna begins trials of three HIV mRNA vaccines

(ORDO NEWS) — Moderna has partnered with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to begin phase I human trials of three different mRNA vaccines designed to confer immunity against HIV.

As the COVID-19 pandemic fades, Moderna is focusing on developing new vaccines. Now the company has begun creating a drug for HIV, and not one, but three at once!

Finding an HIV vaccine is a challenging scientific challenge. Nevertheless, there is a basis for creating such drugs, and some of them are currently being tested.

An mRNA platform tested on a COVID-19 vaccine could also provide a low-cost basis for a vaccine against the human immunodeficiency virus, which affects hundreds of thousands of people worldwide each year.

Will mRNA vaccines save us from HIV?

The Phase I trial, which Moderna has begun , will involve about 100 healthy adults, with the initial goal of evaluating the safety and immune responses to three different mRNA drugs. Each of them will receive three doses of the prescribed drug for 6 months.

Just like mRNA vaccines for COVID-19, designed to train the immune system to respond to the S protein of SARS-CoV-2, these experimental vaccines focus on the HIV equivalent of this target, known as the GP120 envelope glycoprotein.

This protein on the surface of HIV particles is much more complex than the S-protein of the coronavirus, so Moderna developed three different mRNA preparations at once, each encoding a slightly different protein conformation.

The tests are expected to last until mid-2023. At this point, it is hoped that one of the three vaccines under investigation will show a sustained immune response and phase II trials can begin.

This phase I study is the second to start this year involving Moderna and HIV mRNA vaccines. The first began in January and is testing a completely different kind of mRNA vaccine.

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