HIV Vaccine Fails to Prove Benefit, Medical Trial Halted

A medical trial testing a promising HIV vaccine in over 5,000 individuals in South Africa has been halted because it failed to prove a benefit, U.S. health officers stated on Monday.

The study, called HVTN 702, built on outcomes from the 2009 RV144 vaccine trial in Thailand, which was the first to show it was attainable to prevent HIV an infection in humans. In that research, the vaccine cut the rate of HIV infections by 30% compared with individuals who got a placebo.

Despite the invention of effective remedies that can put the virus in remission, specialists say an HIV vaccine is vital to eradicating the virus that causes AIDS, which has infected 75 million individuals and killed 37.9 million worldwide as of 2018.

The regimen examined in the HVTN 702 trial was adapted to focus on the specific subtype of HIV most prevalent in southern Africa, known as Clade C. It consisted of two vaccines – one produced from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and one from Sanofi.

The research enrolled 5,407 HIV-negative volunteers at 14 sites throughout South Africa. Study volunteers were sexually active women and men ages 18 to 35. They had been randomly assigned to obtain either the experimental vaccine regimen or a placebo.

In late January, a security board carried out an interim analysis from 2,694 study individuals who got the vaccine and 2,689 volunteers who acquired the placebo, and located the vaccine was not effective at preventing HIV infections.

The NIAID has two other late-stage HIV vaccine trials undertaken called Imbokodo and Mosaico. Both are testing a novel vaccine built by Johnson & Johnson (J&J). The end of the HVTN 702 trial doesn’t have an effect on these studies or any other HIV prevention efficacy trials happening globally, Warren stated.