World AIDS DAY Part 2: EAVI2020’s research to a better future | Trial HIV-CORE 0052
Hi! I am Trial HIV-CORE 0052; a phase I open-label trial aiming to establish and assess the safety and immunogenicity of candidate T-cell vaccines ChAdOx1.tHIVconsv1 and MVA.tHIVconsv3+MVA.tHIVconsv4 given in combination to healthy volunteers at low risk for HIV-1 infection at The Jenner Institute, University of Oxford London (Trial Sponsor) which will be followed by further studies towards both prevention of HIV infection and an HIV cure.
The HIV-CORE 0052 team including Dr Paola Cicconi (Principal Investigator) Prof Tomáš Hanke (Non Clinical Principal Investigator), Dr Nicola Borthwick and Dr Edmund Wee (Immunology Laboratory Leads) and trial managers Dr Alison Crook and Ms Molly Glaze are aiming to test a candidate T-cell vaccine strategy against HIV-1. The tested regimen consists of a prime with engineered replication-deficient simian (chimpanzee) adenovirus vector ChAdOx1 followed by a heterologous boost with two replication-deficient poxviruses called MVA. These vectors deliver three unique mosaic algorithm-computed immunogens derived from the six most functionally conserved regions of the HIV proteome, collectively called HIVconsvX. Two regions are from the Gag including the whole capsid protein p24 and four are from the Pol proteins. These regions are common to most global HIV-1 variants and are hard to change and escape. These vaccines are so-called subunit genetic vaccines, are designated ChAdOx1.tHIVconsv1, MVA.tHIVconsv3 and MVA.tHIVconsv4 and aim to induce protective killer T-cell responses targeting HIV-1 ‘where it hurts’. If effective, they could work across all major HIV-1 clades and be deployed in all geographical regions.
Throughout the challenging years of HIV vaccine development, when for the last decade most of the field has almost entirely focused on B-cell biology and antibody-based protection, Professor Hanke remained standing as one of a very few T-cell vaccinologists believing in vaccine-inducible protective cellular immunity, improving, and testing his highly rational T-cell strategy, which is now very much at the forefront of the current efforts.
An HIV vaccine is urgently needed, however, simple vaccine solutions for this most difficult of viruses have remained extremely elusive. Development of an effective vaccine has been a slow and difficult process over four decades, but remarkable progress has been made in recent years. The experience with COVID-19 vaccines underscores how technologies under development for decades, such as RNA vaccines from 2001 and adenoviral vectors since 1991, can suddenly emerge as a leading and highly effective approach by building on decades of effort. Prof Hanke thinks it is likely that T cell-inducing vaccines for HIV-1 will reach this tipping point in the next 5 years and emerge as an additional tool to help control the HIV pandemic.
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For World AIDS Day 2021, the EAVI2020 clinicians and researchers are shedding a light on the EAVI2020 clinical trials that aim to help accelerate the search for an effective HIV vaccine. Every year on 1st December since 1988, World AIDS Day is an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of the HIV virus. According to WHO, since the beginning of the pandemic, 36.3 million people have lost their lives and it was estimated that there were 37.7 million people living with HIV at the end of 2020, over two-thirds of whom (25.4 million) are in the WHO African Region.
It is a day to remember those who have perished due to AIDS and that international research projects such as EAVI2020, are continuing the fight to find an effective vaccine for the HIV virus that has so far evaded eradication for the past 30+ years. Learn more about EAVI2020’s clinical trials and what the dedicated consortium of researchers and clinicians aim to achieve.