• Otávio Santiago

mRNA-Based HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Monkeys

An experimental mRNA HIV vaccine, developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Moderna, showed promise in mice and non-human primates. The novel vaccine was safe and prompted desired antibody and cellular immune responses against an HIV-like virus. Rhesus macaques receiving a priming vaccine followed by multiple booster inoculations had a 79% lower per-exposure risk of infection by simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) compared to unvaccinated animals.

This work is published in Nature Medicine in the paper, “A multiclade env-gag VLP mRNA vaccine elicits tier-2 HIV-1-neutralizing antibodies and reduces the risk of heterologous SHIV infection in macaques.”

“Despite nearly four decades of effort by the global research community, an effective vaccine to prevent HIV remains an elusive goal,” said Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of the NIAID. “This experimental mRNA vaccine combines several features that may overcome shortcomings of other experimental HIV vaccines and thus represents a promising approach.”

The vaccine co-expresses membrane-anchored HIV-1 envelope (Env) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) Gag proteins to generate virus-like particles (VLPs). The VLPs match whole, infectious HIV in terms of stimulating suitable immune responses.

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