The NIH awarded the Scripps Consortium for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Development, or CHAVD, a 7-year, $129 million grant to develop novel vaccine candidates designed to protect against numerous strains of HIV, according to a news release.
Investigators will use the funds to refine and manufacture the vaccine candidates to be used in early-stage human clinical trials, the first of which is slated to begin this year in partnership with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, according to the release.
The vaccine candidates are designed to be administered in multiple stages to induce broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) — antibodies with the ability to target multiple strains of HIV at once — Scripps said.
“Previous NIH support for this international collaboration allowed us to lay the scientific foundation for developing an unprecedented and highly promising approach to HIV vaccination,” Dennis Burton, PhD, director of the Scripps CHAVD and co-chair of the department of immunology and microbiology at Scripps Research, said in the release. “This new award provides critical funding to refine this approach and bring it into human clinical testing.”
Globally, 37.9 million people were living with HIV in 2018, and 1.7 million became newly infected, according to UNAIDS. Recent advancements in isolating bnAbs have offered researchers a potential path to a universal vaccine.
According to the release, the NIH funds will help the consortium refine immunogens, develop scalable manufacturing methods and provide immunogens for testing the sequential vaccine regimen in humans.
“We are researching multiple bnAb sites with the ultimate goal of combining immunogens that target different sites to provide the breadth and potency needed for an effective vaccine,” Burton said. – by Eamon Dreisbach
UNAIDS. Fact sheet – global HIV statistics. https://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/media_asset/UNAIDS_FactSheet_en.pdf. Accessed July 16, 2019.
Disclosures: Infectious Disease News could not confirm relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.