HIV Vaccine Trials and Progress

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There’s currently no vaccine to help prevent HIV, but researchers believe that one is on the horizon.

Progress in HIV vaccine development

Researchers found the most success to date in humans during the “RV144 Thai trial,” which ran from 2003 to 2009. This trial involved a two-dose vaccine and yielded an estimated 31 percent efficacy rate.
One potentially promising trial was known as the HVTN 702 (Uhambo) trial, which ran from 2016 to 2021. However, the data revealed even less efficacy than the RV144, possibly due to lower protein doses.
Still, the HVTN 702 trial led to the development of two new potential HIV vaccines that are currently undergoing clinical trials. These are known as the HVTN 706 (Mosaico) and HVTN 705 (Imbokodo) trials.
As of August 2021, Imbokodo did not show “sufficient protection against HIV in women.”

Ongoing HIV vaccine trials for 2022

In 2022, researchers and developers will likely focus on the two late-stage trials discussed above —Mosaico and Imbokodo. Additionally, there are constantly new trials being developed for other aspects of HIV, including new medications, related health conditions, and more. while HIV vaccine trials have partially led to the rise of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, one company is set to start testing an mRNA version of a possible HIV vaccine.
Researchers hope that the partnerships developed during the COVID-19 pandemic could potentially inspire similar collaborations in developing an HIV vaccine sooner, rather than later.

“Spill-over” effect of HIV vaccine development

While the creation of an HIV vaccine still has not come to fruition, scientists caution against any perceptions that suggests the decades of work has been wasteful.
Not only have researchers learned valuable information that has brought us closer to developing an HIV vaccine, but previous research and trials have also led to the invention of vaccines for other types of infectious diseases.
The research process for HIV vaccines has also led to the development of vaccinations for other infectious diseases, such as:
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome (also known as “SARS” or SARS-CoV-1)
  • human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola)
  • Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)
The influenza (the flu virus) vaccine has helped lead to the development of the vaccines listed above.
Aside from research and development, the rapid creation of COVID-19 vaccines was also heavily dependent on collaborations.

NIAID's Progress Toward an HIV Vaccine fact sheet

Infographic detailing the progress toward an HIV Vaccine including the challenges of development, progress we've made, and what we are doing going forward.
Credit: NIAID
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