New HIV vaccine ‘based on Moderna’s COVID jab’ shows huge promise after first human trials

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04/06/2021

A new vaccine has shown huge promise in the fight against HIV with the treatment successfully stimulating the production of antibodies in human trials. The novel vaccine stimulated the production of rare immune cells needed to generate antibodies against HIV in 97 per cent of participants in phase one of human trials. This makes it reportedly the most effective HIV vaccine to date. IAVI and Scripps Research, who are developing the vaccine, reported that HIV researchers have pursued the “holy grail of stimulating the immune system” to “create rare but powerful antibodies that can neutralise diverse strains of HIV”. Dr William Schief, a professor and immunologist at Scripps Research and executive director of vaccine design at IAVI’s Neutralizing Antibody Center, whose laboratory developed the vaccine, said the vaccine is targeted to set off the stimulation of naïve B cells. These cells elicit the production of a variety of neutralising antibodies (bnAbs). Schief explained: “We and others postulated many years ago that in order to induce bnAbs, you must start the process by triggering the right B cells – cells that have special properties giving them the potential to develop into bnAb-secreting cells. “In this trial, the targeted cells were only about one in a million of all naïve B cells. To get the right antibody response, we first need to prime the right B cells.

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