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EAVI2020 extended and trials resume

doctors in a hospital glass hallway

As new light springs at the horizon with the rollout of efficacious COVID-19 vaccines, EAVI2020 has received a 12-month extension and its clinical studies across Europe are resuming.

A new year, and a very different landscape from the last. EAVI2020 clinical work is coming out of its semi-hibernating state and the prospects seem brighter for 2021. Just this past month, EAVI2020’s funding body, the European Commission has given EAVI2020 an extra 12 months of breathing space. This is on top of an already granted 6-month extension which means EAVI2020 now has an expected closure date in April 2022. This speaks volumes as to how the COVID-19 pandemic has hindered EAVI2020 research. Nonetheless, the European Commission’s commitment to developing effective vaccine candidates for HIV remains undeterred, with continuing support for EAVI2020’s contribution.

EAVI2020 has already achieved many of its initial objectives from 2015 but there is so much still to do. With study resumption getting underway, the EAVI2020 consortium is eager to dive back in.

At Imperial College London, UK, the screening of new potential volunteers is resuming in the series of clinical experimental medicine studies (read more about the mosaic trial). The study is assessing how different protein immunogen combinations influence the development of protective antibodies against HIV, with the goal of inducing broadly neutralising antibodies. The first immunogen dose was administered on March 28 2019 at NIHR Imperial CRF, Hammersmith Hospital, London, and almost exactly a year later, the study was paused due to COVID-19. Dr Katrina Pollock who is the Chief Investigator and a Senior Clinical Research Fellow in Vaccinology at Imperial College London told us, “We have looked forward to this moment for months. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of uncertainty for many areas of research. Naturally, our team turned our full attention to delivering research to develop COVID-19 vaccines when it was most needed. Now, with COVID-19 vaccine roll-out underway, we have the opportunity to gradually restart other areas of vital research including the EAVI2020 studies”. To date, 54 volunteers have been enrolled into the study.

At the University of Oxford, UK Prof Tomáš Hanke and the team will re-start in sequential order the T Cell Vaccine trials as of this month and as COVID-19 guidelines permit. Also, Dr Roger le Grand and Dr Nathalie Derreuddre-Bosquet with their team at Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives (CEA), France, are expecting their NHP immunogenicity studies to commence in the summer.

For further information on Europe’s COVId-19 response, the European Commission has placed up-to-date information on their website regarding COVID-19 response and action.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay.

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