Moderna is now preparing another human trial; this time not for COVID-19 but HIV. According to the American Registry for clinical trials, an American biotech company in partnership with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative is on its way to testing two different vaccine candidates that are based on the same mRNA technology as COVID-19 shots.
Following the success of the COVID-19 vaccines, which proved remarkably effective at preventing COVID-19, Moderna will begin to test similar technology against HIV. The mRNA technology which the biotech company has been considering has now proven effective.
This development gave them the courage to pursue more ambitious vaccines within the prophylactic modality. mRNA technology involves teaching the body to create proteins that trigger an immune response.
Moderna’s experimental dose vaccine will be given to 56 healthy adults first to test its safety and determine if it sparks an immune response. However, the authorities behind this experimental HIV vaccine are not yet raising their hopes too high as it is the first stage of human testing, besides the human immunodeficiency virus, has been very difficult to fight.
While the efficacy rates of the COVID-19 vaccine gave unprecedented success, the HIV vaccine may have a different outcome. There is a low possibility that the HIV vaccine would not be as effective as COVID-19, but researchers will significantly learn from this experiment.
They will know “something about how to ward off the virus,” says Dr. Jonathan Angel, infectious diseases head at the Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa.
In addition, Dr. Angel said that it is always harder to develop a vaccine for HIV than for the coronavirus. One of the reasons is that HIV mutates faster than the coronavirus, making the virus escape quickly. On the other hand, he emphasizes that the current HIV treatments are way more effective in preventing infections and treating those who have them.
The bottom line is that there is still a long line to go for HIV.