Moderna Launches HIV Vaccine Trials

Don't like to read?
Courtesy of Fletcher (Wikimedia CC0)

Moderna has begun the early stages of its HIV mRNA vaccine trials. They have teamed up with the nonprofit organization, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), to develop the injection. They are using the same technology used to develop their COVID-19 vaccine, according to Moderna’s public announcement on Jan. 27, 2022.

Phase I of the trial began At George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Science located in Washington, D.C. President and CEO of IAVI Dr. Mark Feinberg stated they were immensely “excited to be advancing this new direction in HIV vaccine design with Moderna’s mRNA platform.”

The search for a vaccine for the human immunodeficiency virus “has been long and challenging,” he added. Feinberg explained that “having new tools in terms of immunogens and platforms could be the key to making rapid progress toward an urgently needed, effective HIV vaccine.”

Courtesy of acon online (Flickr CC0)

Around 1.3 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with HIV with roughly 38 million people worldwide living with the virus. The human immunodeficiency virus can lead to the potentially fatal disease AIDS (Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

The U.S. AIDS epidemic reached its height in the mid-1990s with over 50,000 deaths occurring every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It use to be considered a death sentence back before experts had an understanding of HIV and AIDS.

Today the virus and disease are more manageable with medications that can reduce viral loads to undetectable and untransmittable levels. Scientists have also created pills that can be taken to prevent infecting those who are HIV-negative.

However, a vaccine for HIV has yet to be developed. Several participants have entered clinical trials but have failed in the later phases. Many are hoping that Moderna has broken through that barrier.

This new vaccine uses messenger RNA (mRNA) to teach the body’s cells how to make proteins that prompt immune response. Not only have researchers developed a primary vaccine but they have also created a booster to deliver HIV immunogens using mRNA.

Moderna’s statement stated they will enroll 56 healthy, HIV-negative adult volunteers at GWU and three additional facilities:

  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.
  • Hope Clinic of Emory Vaccine Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • The University of Texas-Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Forty-eight participants will receive either one or two doses of the mRNA vaccine with 32 set to receive the booster. The remaining eight volunteers will receive the booster only. Test subjects will then be monitored for safety by researchers for up to six months after receiving the final dose.

Written by Sheena Robertson


ABC News: Moderna launches clinical trial for HIV vaccine that uses mRNA technology; by Mary Kekatos

Top and Featured Image by Fletcher Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of acon online’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

3 Responses to "Moderna Launches HIV Vaccine Trials"

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.