Scientists report success with new experimental HIV vaccine

Each year, more than 1 million new HIV infections occur, highlighting the need for effective HIV vaccines, but finding safe and effective ways to prevent the disease has eluded scientists for decades.

Although pathogens such as HIV, influenza, hepatitis C virus, and betacoronaviruses have eluded the development of vaccines that induce broad immunity, scientists have recently discovered broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) that can neutralize HIV-1 and target infected cells for elimination.

The findings from a Phase 1 study on a small group of volunteers suggest that a two-dose regimen of an experimental HIV vaccine, given eight weeks apart, can elicit immune responses against the human immunodeficiency virus.

The results establish clinical proof of concept for the germline-targeting vaccine design priming strategy, support the development of boosting regimens to generate antibody responses against HIV, and encourage the application of this strategy to other targets in HIV and other pathogens.

The discovery was announced by Dr. M. Juliana McElrath of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, in Seattle, and Dr. David J. Leggat of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, MD.

“A lot of people did a lot of amazing work on this one! One step forward… the next steps are already in progress,” said Leggat.

McElrath and Leggat were assisted by Adrian B. McDermott, Kristen W. Cohen, Jordan R. Willis, William J. Fulp, Allan C. deCamp, Oleksandr Kalyuzhniy, Christopher A. Cottrell, Sergey Menis, Greg Finak, Lamar Ballweber-Fleming, Abhinaya Srikanth, Jason R. Plyler, Torben Schiffner, Alessia Liguori, Farhad Rahaman, Angela Lombardo, Vincent Philiponis, Rachael E. Whaley, Aaron Seese, Joshua Brand, Alexis M. Ruppel, Wesley Hoyland, Nicole L. Yates, LaTonya D. Williams, Kelli Greene, Hongmei Gao, Celia R. Mahoney, Martin M. Corcoran, Alberto Cagigi, Alison Taylor, David M. Brown, David R. Ambrozak, Troy Sincomb, Xiaozhen Hu, Ryan Tingle, Erik Georgeson, Saman Eskandarzadeh, Nushin Alavi, Danny Lu, Tina-Marie Mullen, Michael Kubitz, Bettina Groschel, Janine Maenza, Orpheus Kolokythas, Nadia Khati, Jeffrey Bethony, Shane Crotty, Mario Roederer, Gunilla B. Karlsson Hedestam, Georgia D. Tomaras, David Montefiori, David Diemert, Richard A. Koup, Dagna S. Laufer, and William R. Schief.

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