News / Africa

US Scientists Expand Scope of HIV Vaccine Study

Joe DeCapua

The world’s largest ongoing HIV vaccine study has been expanded to consider multiple ways a vaccine might boost immune response to the AIDS virus. The U.S. Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is testing the safety and efficacy of a dual vaccine candidate.

It’s called the HVTN 505 study and has been underway since June 2009. HVTN stands for the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

“The trial is being expanded both in terms of the number of participants, as well as what the trial is looking to answer,” said Mitchell Warren, head of AVAC, the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, who’s following the study’s developments.

Broader study

Enrollment is increasing from about 1,300 to 2,200 participants.

Originally, the study focused on whether the vaccine regimen could lower the amount of HIV in the blood if people were to become infected after being vaccinated. It did not focus on whether it could actually prevent infection. Now it does.

The change stems in part from encouraging results in 2009 of the RV-144 vaccine trial in Thailand. The trial proved protection is possible, although the effectiveness was too low to go to market.

Warren said, “Because of the Thai trial, what we saw in that vaccine actually preventing infection was, wow, we really need to then look differently at HVTN 505 and expand its ability to look at the question: could this vaccine actually also prevent infection, prevent acquisition of HIV?”

Learning more, doing better

In AIDS vaccine research in the 1980s and 90s, there really was little, if any, success in getting vaccine candidates to give a protective effect. So, the emphasis switched to whether vaccines could mitigate the infection.

Warren says there are two basic immune system responses to infection.

“We have the antibody response, or the humoral immunity, which conceptually is the part of the body that could help prevent infection. And then we have what’s called cell mediated immunity, which is the part of the immune system that will help modulate the disease if one were to be infected,” he said.

The HVTN 505 study will now try to activate both of those systems.

“It uses a prime boost combination of two different vaccines. One is a DNA vaccine that has snippets of HIV that can’t cause HIV at all, but is meant to kind of prime the immune system. And then it has an Adeno 5 vaccine boost,” said Warren.

Adeno 5 is actually a common cold virus. It’s used as a vector or means of delivering the vaccine.

Choose carefully

All the participants in the study fall under the UNAIDS category of men who have sex with men, or MSM. The latest U.S. data show the group has a very high HIV infection rate, particularly young men of color.

It’s important for medical studies to carefully choose a target group.

“Every trial is unique and to the degree that a trial can ask a very specific question in a very specific population, the better we can answer the question. If we just created a vaccine trial or a treatment trial and said anybody can be in our trial, we just want bodies, at the end of the day we would look at the answer and say we don’t know what this means because these people were so different,” said Warren.

The HVTN 505 study is being conducted in 12 U.S. cities. The executive director of the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition calls this the most exciting time in HIV vaccine research.

The study is being led by Scott M. Hammer, M.D., the chief of NIAID’s Division of Infectious Diseases and the Harold C. Neu professor of medicine in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid