The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and pharmaceutical giant Moderna jointly announced that the first doses of an experimental HIV vaccine have been administered as part of a clinical trial at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C.
IAVI will use Moderna technology developed during their COVID-19 vaccine production for the HIV vaccine. The goal is to use RNA to boost HIV immunogens, thus preventing the virus from disabling the B cells, which are essential to fighting disease.
“We are tremendously excited to be advancing this new direction in HIV vaccine design with Moderna’s mRNA platform,” said Dr. Mark Feinberg in a press release. “The search for an HIV vaccine has been long and challenging and having new tools in terms of immunogens and platforms could be the key to making rapid progress toward an urgently needed, effective HIV vaccine.”
Moderna President Dr. Stephen Hoge was also quoted in the release.
“We are very pleased to be partnering with IAVI and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to apply our mRNA technology in the setting of HIV,” Hoge said. “At Moderna, we believe that mRNA offers a unique opportunity to address critical unmet public health needs around the world. We believe advancing this HIV vaccine program in partnership with IAVI and Scripps Research is an important step in our mission to deliver on the potential for mRNA to improve human health.”
In August, Pride Source reported that the vaccine was in the works and reached out to Dr. Paul Benson, a leading Metro Detroit HIV health expert who works at the Be Well Medical Center in Berkley, who said he was “very excited” about vaccine trials.
“This is not the first HIV vaccine trial and certainly won’t be the last,” he said. “We’ve learned a lot from previous HIV vaccine trials, which allows us to continue progress toward this goal.”