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HIV Vaccine Trial HVTN 702 Stopped Early for Non-Efficacy

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February 3, 2020

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Mitchell Warren, +1 (914) 661-1536, mitchell@avac.org
Kay Marshall, +1 (347) 249-6375, kay@avac.org

Other Vaccine Trials Not Affected; AVAC Calls for Ongoing Support to Vaccine Research

New York City – Today the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) announced that HVTN 702, a large-scale HIV vaccine efficacy trial of a canary pox-based vaccine candidate, has been stopped because the vaccine does not prevent HIV.

HVTN 702 (also known as Uhambo) was stopped following a scheduled review by an independent data and safety monitoring board that showed no significant difference between the vaccine and placebo arms of the trial. The review identified no safety concerns. Trial participants are being informed of the stop and will remain in the study for follow-up.

“We always hope that efficacy trials will show positive results that lead to new prevention options,” said Mitchell Warren, Executive Director of AVAC. “It is very disappointing that this vaccine candidate does not work, but the trial was well-conducted and got an answer as quickly as possible. Over the last decade, the HIV vaccine field has made unprecedented progress in working together to tackle the tough questions that need to be answered to move research forward intelligently, share important findings, and avoid duplicative endeavors. The HIV vaccine field is more coordinated than ever before, which means it can take the answers this trial has provided and move the research agenda forward in new directions.”

“South Africa and South Africans have made enormous contributions to HIV vaccine and prevention research, as researchers, clinicians and trial participants,” Warren said. “AVAC recognizes the significant contribution of the 5,400 volunteers in this trial. Their involvement makes HIV prevention research possible. AVAC commends the trial staff and the global research team for their hard work in conducting this trial, getting an answer fast, and prioritizing participants throughout the process. We are glad the funders for this and other research recognize the imperative to work together to sustain investment.”

HVTN 702 evaluated whether an investigational HIV vaccine regimen is safe, tolerable, and effective at preventing HIV infection among 5,400 South African adult women and men. The Phase 2b/3 study, the largest and most advanced HIV vaccine trial to take place in South Africa, and was adapted from the vaccine strategy tested in the RV144 Thai vaccine trial, which showed roughly 30 percent lower infection rate among volunteers who received the vaccine versus those who received the placebo.

The vaccine approach in HVTN 702 is different from that being tested in other large-scale vaccine efficacy studies HVTN 705/HPX2008 (the Imbokodo Study) and HVTN 706/HPX3002 (the Mosaico study). It is also different from the planned PrEPVacc Study, which will test yet another vaccine strategy along with oral PrEP. The stop of HVTN 702 does not affect these trials or any other HIV prevention efficacy trials taking place globally.

“A vaccine is absolutely essential to achieving a durable end to the HIV epidemic,” said Warren. “It will be important for the HVTN 702 partners to share data from the study as quickly as possible, and for the field to come together as it did after RV144 to ensure that what can be learned from this trial is fed back into the research pipeline expeditiously. Other ongoing HIV prevention efficacy studies, including three vaccine efficacy trials, two antibody-mediated prevention trials and two long-acting injectable ARV studies will yield results in the coming years; and the earlier stage research pipeline is diverse and promising. It is critical that funding for HIV vaccine and other prevention research – as well as industry involvement – continue as part of a comprehensive agenda to end the epidemic.”

For more information, learn about the HIV vaccine research pipeline and about HVTN 702.

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About AVAC: Founded in 1995, AVAC is a non-profit organization that uses education, policy analysis, advocacy and a network of global collaborations to accelerate the ethical development and global delivery of AIDS vaccines, male circumcision, microbicides, PrEP and other emerging HIV prevention options as part of a comprehensive response to the pandemic. For more information, visit www.avac.org.