Press Releases




Official press releases

New vigour in HIV vaccine research evident at AIDS 2016

posted on

 

FOR RELEASE
Tuesday, 19 July
14:30PM SAST
 
Pivotal South African study builds on promise of the only HIV vaccine regimen to show efficacy to date; landmark antibody trial now in field; multiple new vaccine approaches being explored 

Durban, South Africa – Current and forthcoming studies of vaccines to prevent HIV infection have created a new optimism that the long and challenging road to the development of such a vaccine has begun to take some promising turns. Updates on the search for preventive vaccines, presented at the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) in Durban, South Africa, included information on advances in the development of novel vaccines, and in the field of antibody mediated prevention (AMP).

Interim immunology results open the way for the first major HIV vaccine efficacy study in seven years.
 
Participants at AIDS 2016 heard results from the HVTN 100 study, conducted by the US-based HIV Vaccine Trails Network (HVTN) in partnership with South African research sites. HVTN 100 tested the immune responses of South African study volunteers to a modified version of the RV144 regimen, the only HIV vaccine regimen to show efficacy to date. The original RV144 vaccine reduced the HIV infection rate among study participants in Thailand by 31% over 3.5 years.

“HVTN 100 used the same vaccines that RV144 tested, but made them specific to the Clade C subtype of HIV, which is widespread in southern Africa. We also changed the adjuvant used with one of the vaccines, with the goal of eliciting a more powerful immune response, and added a booster injection to prolong the period of protection,” said HVTN 100 Protocol Chair Linda-Gail Bekker, who is also Deputy Director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre in Cape Town and International AIDS Society President-Elect.
 
Interim results from HVTN 100, presented here, provided the green light for a Phase III efficacy trial on the modified RV144 regimen. Criteria for the go-ahead centred on the percentage of HVTN 100 vaccine-recipients who displayed a range of immune responses, and the strength of those responses.
 
“All the criteria were met unequivocally and, in many instances, the HVTN 100 outcomes exceeded both our own criteria and the immune responses seen in RV144,” Bekker concluded.
 
Larry Corey, HVTN Principal Investigator, elaborated: “It is gratifying to see vaccines that were designed and manufactured specifically for South Africa meet and even exceed the criteria established to advance them into the large efficacy trial. HVTN 702 is a pivotal study that could lead to a licensed HIV vaccine in South Africa – the first preventive HIV vaccine worldwide.”
 
HVTN 702, a placebo-controlled study, will begin enrolling 5,400 HIV-negative men and women at 15 research sites across South Africa before the end of 2016. Participants will receive five injections over the course of a year and will be followed-up for two years more to establish whether the vaccine elicits a sustained protective effect. The trial will also seek to confirm earlier findings from HVTN 100 that the modified RV144 regimen is safe.
 
A major difficulty in the field of HIV vaccine development is the extraordinary capacity of HIV to mutate and evade the antibodies that might block it. The identification in a small minority of HIV-positive individuals of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs), which can neutralize a wide range of HIV variants, led to a flourishing of vaccine-related research focused on how to manufacture bNAbs in the laboratory and how to harness bNAbs to prevent infection in HIV-negative individuals.
 
A landmark event in this field of research was the start of the first large-scale human trials to evaluate whether a bNAb called VRC01, given by infusion, is effective in preventing HIV acquisition.

  • The first of the two studies, HVTN 704/HPTN 085, commenced in March in the United States. It will enrol 2,700 gay men and transgender individuals who have sex with men in the U.S., South America and Europe.
  • The second study, HVTN 703/HPTN 081, began in June, 2016 in South Africa and will enrol 1,500 heterosexual women in seven sub-Saharan African countries.

These placebo-controlled trials, jointly referred to as the AMP Studies, are almost identical in design. In addition to establishing the efficacy of bNAbs in preventing HIV infection, the AMP Studies will evaluate the safety and tolerability of the VRC01 infusion, and explore what concentration of the bNAb is required for effective prevention.
 
Researchers agree that the greatest value of the studies may be the scientific insights they yield for future vaccine development. Laboratory analysis of how bNAbs block HIV’s entry into healthy cells has already provided invaluable information for vaccine scientists, and more lessons are likely as the performance of VRC01 is studied in a large human cohort.
 
Scientists are also exploring the design and development of antigens or immunogens that might stimulate the immune system of HIV-negative individuals to produce bNAbs. 
 
The next major multi-site efficacy trial in the HIV vaccine field is likely to be a test of a vaccine regimen that includes a ‘mosaic’ immunogen, carrying fragments of HIV from different variants of the virus. Researchers believe that this complex immunogen might be fit for use globally, regardless of the predominant variants in different regions.
 
Other novel vaccine approaches in development include the exploration of improved vectors, safe viral ‘vehicles’ that are capable of delivering HIV genes that will trigger protection against HIV, or that may even be able to deliver bNAb genes directly.
 
The field of vaccine development and testing involves a wide range of scientific research organisations and academic institutions around the world, private sector pharmaceutical companies, clinical research sites and laboratories, and thousands of volunteers who take risks and give of their time to participate in studies.

###


 
About the International AIDS Conference
The International AIDS Conference is the largest conference on any global health or development issue. First convened during the peak of the AIDS epidemic in 1985, this conference continues to provide a unique forum for the intersection of science and advocacy, and an opportunity to strengthen policies and programmes to ensure an evidence-based response to the epidemic. The conference also serves as a focal point to intensify political and financial commitments to AIDS. The 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) is being held in Durban, South Africa (18-22 July 2016).
 
AIDS 2016 Conference Organizers
AIDS 2016 is organized by the International AIDS Society in partnership with the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+); the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO); the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW Global), and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). Non-permanent partners are ICW Eastern Africa and the Men who Have Sex with Men Global Forum (MSMGF). Local partners are the South Africa National AIDS Council, the Department of Health for the Republic of South Africa, and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC). Regional partners are the AIDS Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA), Enda Santé, and Réseau Africain des Praticiens Assurant la Prise en Charge Médicale des Personnes Vivant avec le VIH/SIDA (RESAPSI).
 
About the International AIDS Society
Founded in 1988, the International AIDS Society (IAS) is the world’s largest association of HIV professionals, with members from more than 180 countries. IAS members work on all fronts of the global response to AIDS and include researchers, clinicians, policy and programme planners, and public health and community practitioners.

Media Contacts:
Mandy Sugrue +27.62.295.4205            Maria Djordjevic, +27.823.346.192        
[email protected]                [email protected]
         
AIDS 2016: Join the Conversation
Get the latest conference updates and share your thoughts and ideas through the AIDS 2016 social media channels.

  • Tweet along with us – @AIDS_conference and @iasociety – using #AIDS2016 to keep the conversation going.
  • Like AIDS 2016 on Facebook – and stay in touch with the latest conference updates and developments.
  • Check us out on Instagram to see photos as they are happening. 
  • Visit our YouTube channel to see featured videos and other content.

 

 

| Return




Third party press releases


Collaborative Canadian study on HIV, housing and health wins 2016 Robert Carr Research Award
27 July 2016

Ten organizations receive Red Ribbon Award for outstanding community leadership on AIDS
27 July 2016

Founding Patron, Prince Harry, and Sir Elton John speak out about empowering youth at the International AIDS Conference in Durban
21 July 2016

LetsStopAIDS Celebrates 10 Years of Youth-HIV programming in KwaZulu-Natal
Additional info
21 July 2016

India Endangering the Global AIDS Response: Constitutional Court Justice, Human Rights Activists, and Medical Groups Raise Alarm
21 July 2016


Elton John AIDS Foundation and PEPFAR Announce Inaugural LGBT Fund Recipients
20 July 2016


Fast-Track Cities Unveil 90-90-90 and HIV Care Continuum Data at AIDS 2016 Demonstrating Progress Towards Goal of Ending AIDS as a Public Health Threat by 2030
20 July 2016


A Conversation with Amb. Birx & Minister Motsoaledi in Durban
20 July 2016


The Lancet: Mass imprisonment of drug users driving global epidemics of HIV, hepatitis, and tuberculosis
19 July 2016


The Lancet: Criminal justice reforms could reduce national HIV and tuberculosis burdens in sub-Saharan Africa
19 July 2016


Update on investigational prime boost HIV-1 vaccine regimen in development at the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
19 July 2016


Johnson & Johnson press availability: HIV prevention efforts and update on global public health Africa operations
19 July 2016


Unprecedented Funding Drop Threatens Global AIDS Response Experts Warn of Significant Epidemiological Impact
19 July 2016


ONE issues warning to African leaders attending IAC: Step up fight against HIV and AIDS or risk millions of lives
18 July 2016


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon invokes the memory of Madiba and calls for Universal Access to Medicines at International Aids Conference
18 July 2016


PEPFAR and DREAMS Partners Announce Winners of the $85 Million DREAMS Innovation Challenge
18 July 2016


PEPFAR Welcomes the Return of the International HIV/AIDS Conference to Africa
18 July 2016


mothers2mothers Announces Reduction of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV to 2.1% among Programme Participants: Peer Mentor Approach Effective and Transferable Across Health Issues
18 July 2016


ARIA Study Shows Superior Efficacy of Triumeq® for Treatment-naïve Women Living with HIV
18 July 2016


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines
16 July 2016


EJAF Founder Elton John and Prince Harry to Host Special Session at 2016 International AIDS Conference
14 July 2016


Sentebale’s founding patron, Prince Harry heads to Durban to talk at the International AIDS Conference
14 July 2016