HIV vaccine nears clinical trial following new findings

A promising vaccine that clears an HIV-like virus from monkeys is closer to human testing after a new, weakened version of the vaccine has been shown to provide similar protection as its original version. A pair of papers published July 17 in Science Translational Medicine describe how the vaccine - which uses a form of the common herpes virus cytomegalovirus, or CMV - was live-attenuated, or weakened so CMV couldn't spread as easily. The new version still managed to eliminate SIV, the monkey version of HIV, in 59 percent of vaccinated rhesus macaques. That result is similar to earlier findings involving the vaccine's original, non-attenuated version. The immunity generated by the attenuated vaccine was also long-lasting, as nine of 12 vaccinated monkeys could still fight off SIV infection three years later.

Having an attenuated version of the vaccine is key to being potentially able to use it in humans. No vaccines use non-attenuated live viruses due to safety concerns. Though humans are often infected with CMV without any trouble, the virus can wreak havoc on those with weakened immune systems such as people with organ transplants. It's also dangerous for pregnant women, as it can cause congenital defects such as hearing loss and microcephaly in babies.

"This research, using rhesus CMV, provides potentially important insights into the design of a human CMV-based HIV vaccine," said Klaus Früh, Ph.D., a corresponding author on one of the papers. "We significantly attenuated CMV and still got the same type of immune responses as with the wild version of this vaccine."

"These papers are important because they recapitulate the previously reported unique CMV vector efficacy with a genetically modified vector that is highly attenuated and therefore potentially safer for clinical use," said Louis Picker, M.D., a corresponding author on both papers. "In addition, this new work demonstrates most vaccinated rhesus macaques that are protected against SIV can also be protected against a second challenge years after initial vaccination. This is a level of durability that would be very important for a human HIV vaccine".

Picker and Früh are professors at OHSU's Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute and affiliated faculty in the OHSU School of Medicine's department for molecular microbiology and immunology.

The CMV vaccine platform has been licensed by Vir Biotechnology, Inc., of San Francisco, which plans to lead a clinical trial with a human version of the CMV-based HIV vaccine. The same platform is also expected to be used for vaccines being developed to fight tuberculosis.

Emily E Marshall, Daniel Malouli, Scott G Hansen, Roxanne M Gilbride, Colette M Hughes, Abigail B Ventura, Emily Ainslie, Andrea N Selseth, Julia C Ford, David Burke, Caraig N Kreklywich, Jennie Womack, Alfred W Legasse, Michael K Axthelm, Chrisoph Kahl, Daniel Streblow, Paul T Edlefsen, Louis J Picker, Klaus Früh.
Enhancing safety of cytomegalovirus-based vaccine vectors by engaging host intrinsic immunity.
Science Translational Medicine, July 17, 2019. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaw2603.

Scott G Hansen, Emily E. Marshall, Daniel Malouli, Abigail B Ventura, Colette M Hughes, Emily Ainslie, Julia C Ford, David Morrow, Roxanne M Gilbride, Jin Y Bae, Alfred W Legasse, Kelli Oswald, Rebecca Shoemaker, Brian Berkemeier, William J Bosche, Michael Hull, Jennie Womack, Jason Shao, Paul T Edlefsen, Jason S Reed, Ben J Burwitz, Jonah B Sacha, Michael K Axthelm, Klaus Früh, Jeffery D Lifson, Louis J Picker.
A live-attenuated RhCMV/SIV vaccine shows long-term efficacy against heterologous SIV challenge.
Science Translational Medicine, July 17, 2019. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaw2607.

Most Popular Now

AstraZeneca divests rights for Losec to Cheplaphar…

AstraZeneca has agreed to sell the global commercial rights, excluding China, Japan, the US and Mexico, for Losec (omeprazole) and associated brands to Cheplapharm Arznei...

Bayer, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Massachus…

Bayer and Partners HealthCare's founding members Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) today announced the launch of a joint lab to ...

Amgen announces positive results from two Phase 3 …

Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) today announced that the results of a prespecified interim analysis of an open-label, randomized, controlled global multicenter Phase 3 trial (2012021...

Cause of antibiotic resistance identified

Scientists have confirmed for the first time that bacteria can change form to avoid being detected by antibiotics in the human body. Studying samples from elderly patient...

Brilinta monotherapy in high-bleeding risk patient…

New data from TWILIGHT, a Phase IV independent trial (funded by AstraZeneca), showed that in patients at high-bleeding risk who underwent PCI and completed 3 months of du...

Novartis and Microsoft announce collaboration to t…

Novartis announced an important step in reimagining medicine by founding the Novartis AI innovation lab and by selecting Microsoft as its strategic AI and data-science pa...

Bayer inks deals with eleven startups under G4A Di…

Bayer announced today that the company has signed collaboration agreements with eleven digital health startups. As part of the program, Bayer will support these startup c...

Ian Read to retire as Executive Chairman of Pfizer…

Following its regularly scheduled meeting, the Board of Directors of Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) today announced that Executive Chairman of the Board Ian C. Read has chosen to...

Discovery of new source of cancer antigens may exp…

For more than a decade, scientist Stephen Albert Johnston and his team at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute have pooled their energies into an often scoffed-...

Pharmacists provide patient value in team-based ca…

With inhaler in hand, Dr. Cheng Yuet went over every detail to make sure the patient understood how the drug would control their COPD symptoms. Dr. Yuet is proving what a...

Chinese activists protest the use of traditional t…

In the West, the number of people challenging scientific authority has been growing in past decades. This has, among other things, led to a decline in the support for mas...

AI and big data predict which research will influe…

An artificial intelligence/machine learning model to predict which scientific advances are likely to eventually translate to the clinic has been developed by Ian Hutchins...