The mosaic vaccine combination that showed the most promise in humans was found to protect around 67% of the 72 monkeys from getting the HIV disease. They recruited 393 HIV-uninfected adults age 18 to 50 from the United States, east Africa, South Africa, and Thailand between February 2015 and October 2015.
While previous experimental HIV-1 vaccines have usually been limited to specific regions of the world, this vaccine combines different HIV viruses. The main agenda was to target the immune responses generated by the diverse variety of HIV virus strains.
"This study demonstrates that the mosaic Ad26 prime, Ad26 plus gp140 boost HIV vaccine candidate induced robust immune responses in humans and monkeys with comparable magnitude, kinetics, phenotype, and durability", said Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, who led the study.
Doctors diagnosed over 1.8 million new cases of HIV infection in 2016, the authors informed.
The success of the vaccine means that the researchers can carry forward with further testing, which includes the drug being tested on a wider number of people.
Decades, scientists around the world tirelessly searched, tried, created, was disappointed, tried again and again to find a way to overcome the most bad virus the XXI century - the human immunodeficiency virus. The virus is able to mutate to avoid the attack of the human immune system, so we can't develop immunity to it.
The researchers also noted several limitations, including the fact that that the relevance of vaccine protection in rhesus monkeys to clinical efficacy in humans remains unclear. In the phase one clinical trial, researchers focused on HIV-1. Among people aged 13 to 24 with HIV, an estimated 51 percent were not aware that they have the disease. Thus, an HIV vaccine is needed badly.
In the meantime, you can reduce your risk of contracting HIV by using a condom for all types of sex and by never sharing a needle if you're an injecting drug user. They also note that there is no definitive immunological measurement that is known to predict protection against HIV-1 in humans. In early human trials the vaccine has been found to be safe in humans.
Professor Barouch said, "These results should be interpreted cautiously".
This study was funded by Janssen Vaccines & Prevention BV and the National Institutes of Health (OD024917, AI068618, AI078526, AI096040, AI124377, AI126603, AI128751, TR001102), the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, and a cooperative agreement (W81XWH-07-2-0067) between the Henry M Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine and the US Department of Defense.
Shown to be safe in humans, the candidate vaccine has now advanced to the next phase of the pre-approval trial process, and will be tested in 2,600 women in southern Africa to see whether it prevents HIV infection.
Unlike other viruses, such as smallpox, there is substantial variability between HIV viruses: even in one individual.