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HIV Vaccine

There is momentum and promise in the search for an HIV vaccine.

An effective preventive HIV vaccine would teach the body how to prevent HIV infection. Vaccines are the most powerful public health tools available—and an HIV vaccine would play a powerful role in ensuring the end to the AIDS epidemic.

While effective vaccines remain years away, there are more reasons for hope than ever before. Researchers are expanding on the result of a 2009 trial that showed, for the first time, that a vaccine can reduce the risk of HIV infection. They’re also pursuing groundbreaking research with other novel vaccine strategies, including broadly neutralizing antibodies that target a wide range of HIV strains. At the same time, there is also exciting work in efforts to understand if and how to cure HIV in people who are already infected. The timeline for this work is long and uncertain. Here, too, advocacy is needed to sustain momentum.

Today’s momentum depends on sustained funding. Policy makers and funders around the world must have the courage to sustain vital HIV vaccine research for years to come, and advocates must keep the pressure on them to maintain their commitments.

What We're Reading

Johnson & Johnson is preparing to test an experimental HIV vaccine in the US and Europe in a move toward developing the first immunization against the deadly disease after decades of frustration. Some 3,800 men who have sex with men will receive a regimen of shots in a study that’s planned to be launched later this year, Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview. The agency and the HIV Vaccine Trials Network of testing sites will collaborate with J&J’s Janssen unit on the effort.

July 12, 2019
Bloomberg

The RV144 vaccine trial is the only clinical study to have shown a modest but statistically significant decrease in HIV infection risk. RV144 and the subsequent studies identifying the level of V1V2-specific antibodies as a correlate of reduced infection risk are still controversial despite many papers supporting and expanding the initial study. We address these controversies and summarize active and passive immunization experiments in non-human primates that support the initial finding.

June 12, 2019
Journal of Virology

HIV scientists, researchers, and people with HIV are eagerly awaiting the results of four major HIV vaccine trials that rely on the antibody approach. Those studies are being led by the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), a nonprofit organization working in collaboration with the U.S. government, the pharmaceutical industry, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

May 18, 2019
The Body
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