HIV Vaccine Fails. What’s Next?


NIH on HIV Vaccine Failure: ‘Get YourHIV-Negative, At-Risk Patients on PrEP Tomorrow’ – Medscape – Sep 02, 2021.

Last year, Katherine Gill, MBChB, an HIV prevention researcher in Cape Town, South Africa, realized how jaded she’d become to vaccine research when the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine came back as 95% effective. In her career conducting HIV clinical trials, she’d never seen anything like it. Even HIV prevention methods she had studied that had worked, like the dapivirine ring, only had an overall efficacy of 30%.

The COVID-19 success story started to soften her views toward another vaccine trial she was helping to conduct, a vaccine trial in HIV that used the same platform as Johnson & Johnson’s successful COVID-19 vaccine.

“When the COVID vaccine was cracked so quickly and seemingly quite easily, I did start to think, ‘Well, maybe…maybe this will work for HIV,’ ” she told Medscape Medical News.

That turned out to be false hope. This week, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that the trial Gill was helping to conduct, HVTN 705, was stopping early because it hadn’t generated enough of an immune response in participants to justify continuing. It was the second HIV vaccine to fail in the last year. It’s also the latest in what has been a litany of disappointments in the attempt to boost the human immune system to fight HIV without the need for ongoing HIV treatment.

Read full story on Medscape.

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