The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the National Institutes of Health, announced some disappointing news Monday, confirming that tests for an experimental vaccine designed to prevent HIV have been completed after it was found to be ineffective,media reported. As these trials are over, NIAID will seek other potential HIV prophylaxis that is currently emerging.
NIAID said the tests were part of a 2b/3 study called HVTN 702 or Uhambo. HVTN 702 has been produced in South Africa since 2016. The program follows the RV144 clinical trial in Thailand, although the vaccine program “applies to the most common HIV subtype, Clade C, in southern Africa, where HVTN 702 is available”.
During the trial, 5,407 HIV-negative volunteers aged 18 to 35 who were sexually active were vaccinated (including six vaccines over an 18-month period) or placebo treated. In an interim analysis of 23 January 2020, an independent Data and Security Monitoring Board (DSMB) found: “There were 129 CASES of HIV infection among vaccinators and 123 HIV infections among placebo recipients.” “
Unfortunately, this means that the vaccine program is ineffective in preventing new HIV infections. Both DSMB and NIAID agreed that they should not be vaccinated, although the study is not yet complete, as participants will continue to receive follow-up.
“The people of South Africa have made history by answering this important scientific question. Unfortunately, we hope the answer is different. Glen Pa Gray, chairman of the HVTN 702 agreement, said. “We will continue to explore promising ways to prevent HIV through other vaccines and tools in South Africa and around the world. “
The good news is that DSMB “doesn’t express any concerns about the safety of the participants”, so even if the trial ends with a disappointing result, it’s certainly a bright spot. You can read more about HVTN 702 and other HIV prophylaxis that NIAID is exploring on the Institute’s website.