HIV Vaccine Research Accelerates with Government Funding
While millions of people worldwide await the launch of an HIV vaccine, the U.S. government recently took action by committing to fund early-stage vaccine candidates.
On April 26, 2023, Uvax Bio, LLC announced that its HIV vaccine candidates had shown significantly improved immune response compared with current vaccine strategies.
According to results from preclinical studies described in a paper published in Nature Communications titled, “Single-component multilayered self-assembling protein nanoparticles presenting glycan-trimmed uncleaved prefusion optimized envelope trimers as HIV-1 vaccine candidates.”
Based on these results, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) has agreed to sponsor a Phase 1 clinical trial expected to launch in the first quarter of 2024.
And last week, Scripps Research announced this HIV vaccine candidate showed a significantly improved ability to neutralize the virus in preclinical tests.
The new and unique HIV vaccine design uses tiny protein “nanoparticles” to display multiple copies of HIV’s surface protein Env, thus presenting itself to the immune system much as real HIV particles would without causing HIV infection.
The key innovation that explains its effects involves flexible sugar molecules called glycans, which normally cover Env on the real virus but are shortened in the new design.
“With this design, we appear to have solved a big piece of the HIV vaccine puzzle,” says the paper’s senior author Jiang Zhu, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology at Scripps Research, in a press release.
And Uvax Bio confirmed it is conducting two definitive preclinical studies in preparation for submitting a U.S. FDA Investigational New Drug application.
As of April 26, 2023, the U.S. FDA had not approved an HIV vaccine.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS estimates that 38.4 million people worldwide live with HIV, and 1.5 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2021 alone.
The development of HIV vaccines represents the best solution for eradicating the HIV pandemic, says the Vaccine Research Institute.
Other sexually transmitted disease vaccine news, such as herpes and HPV, are posted by Precision Vaccinations.