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Experimental vaccine primes immune system to produce BNABs

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Cosmicdancer:
First-in-human clinical trial confirms new HIV vaccine approach
The experimental vaccine primed the immune system as the first stage in the production of broadly neutralizing antibodies (BNABs)

A phase 1 clinical trial testing a novel vaccine approach to prevent HIV has produced promising results, IAVI and Scripps Research announced today. The vaccine showed success in stimulating production of rare immune cells needed to start the process of generating antibodies against the fast-mutating virus; the targeted response was detected in 97 percent of participants who received the vaccine.

"This study demonstrates proof of principle for a new vaccine concept for HIV, a concept that could be applied to other pathogens, as well," says William Schief, Ph.D., a professor and immunologist at Scripps Research and executive director of vaccine design at IAVI's Neutralizing Antibody Center, whose laboratory developed the vaccine. "With our many collaborators on the study team, we showed that vaccines can be designed to stimulate rare immune cells with specific properties, and this targeted stimulation can be very efficient in humans. We believe this approach will be key to making an HIV vaccine and possibly important for making vaccines against other pathogens."

Schief presented the results on behalf of the study team at the International AIDS Society HIV Research for Prevention (HIVR4P) virtual conference today.

The study sets the stage for additional clinical trials that will seek to refine and extend the approach -- with the long-term goal of creating a safe and effective HIV vaccine. As a next step, IAVI and Scripps Research are partnering with the biotechnology company Moderna to develop and test an mRNA-based vaccine that harnesses the approach to produce the same beneficial immune cells. Using mRNA technology could significantly accelerate the pace of HIV vaccine development.

HIV, which affects more than 38 million people globally, is known to be among the most difficult viruses to target with a vaccine, in large part because it constantly evolves into different strains to evade the immune system.

"These exciting findings emerge from remarkably creative, innovative science and are a testament to the research team's talent, dedication and collaborative spirit, and to the generosity of the trial participants," says Mark Feinberg, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO of IAVI. "Given the urgent need for an HIV vaccine to rein in the global epidemic, we think these results will have broad implications for HIV vaccine researchers as they decide which scientific directions to pursue. The collaboration among individuals and institutions that made this important and exceptionally complex clinical trial so successful will be tremendously enabling to accelerate future HIV vaccine research."

The full article is here
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/02/210203162249.htm

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