The AIDS Vaccine Has failed Again, Will The mRNA Vaccine Be The Last Hope?
Date of publication：2021/9/10 17:27:06
AIDS, the full name is Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, which is a very harmful infectious disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The HIV virus can attack and severely damage the human immune system. Therefore, AIDS patients often suffer from secondary infections or tumors due to insufficient immunity, which also makes the mortality rate of AIDS patients extremely high.
More importantly, as an RNA virus, the HIV virus has a high frequency of mutations in its genome. Studies have shown that since HIV was transmitted from non-human primates to humans in the early 20th century, HIV has gradually derived and differentiated into many different subtypes in humans.
According to UNAIDS data, the number of HIV carriers and AIDS patients worldwide has increased from 34.3 million at the end of 2013 to 38 million at the end of 2018, and the number is still growing rapidly.
As a genetic disease caused by viral infection, the development of highly effective preventive vaccines is the most important weapon for the prevention and control of AIDS. However, so far, many AIDS vaccine developments have almost failed. In 2020, the AIDS vaccine jointly developed by Sanofi and GSK was declared a failure. The vaccine was once considered the most promising AIDS vaccine and was evaluated by FiercePharma. It is the first of the world's top ten clinical trial failure cases in 2020.
An AIDS vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, called Imbokodo, has been recruiting volunteers for clinical trials in sub-Saharan Africa. The vaccine, also known as the "Mosaic vaccine," attempts to stimulate a broad immune response by combining fragments of multiple HIV strains.
Researchers from Johnson & Johnson recruited about 2,600 young women in five countries in sub-Saharan Africa and randomly assigned four doses of vaccine or placebo within a year. The researchers calculated the efficacy of the vaccine in phase 2b clinical trials by looking at the number of people infected with AIDS in each cohort from the 7th month (1 month after the third vaccination) to the 24th month.
The analysis showed that 63 people in the placebo group were infected with AIDS, and 51 people in the vaccinated group with a smaller number of people were infected with AIDS. The vaccine protection efficiency calculated by Johnson & Johnson is 25.2%. Although the vaccine is generally well tolerated, the protection efficiency is too low to support further research. Johnson & Johnson decided to stop the development of the vaccine.
Johnson & Johnson is continuing to analyze the data from the failed clinical trial to determine why the high level of protection seen at the animal level is not as good in humans.
Although the AIDS vaccine failed miserably, the research and development of Johnson & Johnson's AIDS vaccine did not stop because of this. Johnson & Johnson is currently working on a combination scheme of AIDS vaccines. This phase 3 clinical study is recruiting men who have sex with men and transgender across the Americas and Europe. The transmission strains in these areas are different from those in sub-Saharan Africa, and the main completion date of the clinical trial is 2024.
At the beginning of 2020, Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID-19 mRNA vaccines showed the world the potential of mRNA vaccines with great success. mRNA vaccines represent a promising alternative to manufacturing conventional vaccines due to their flexibility and rapid production speed.
In early 2021, Moderna announced that it has developed an mRNA-based experimental AIDS vaccine that has been proven to trigger the production of neutralizing antibodies against HIV-like viruses in monkeys. This vaccine based on mRNA technology has brought new hope for AIDS vaccine research.
It is reported that Moderna's mRNA vaccine method is different from previous AIDS vaccine research methods. While Johnson & Johnson's research focuses on whether non-neutralizing antibodies can induce protection against AIDS, Moderna's mRNA vaccine produces extensive neutralization antibodies against the virus which prevent HIV virus from entering cells.
COVID-19 vaccines are just the beginning of the mRNA revolution. The research showed mRNA vaccines also have the potential to protect against HIV. mRNA therapies could also hold promise in other clinical areas, including the treatment of cancer and rare genetic disorders.
As a dynamic science company, Huateng Pharma is dedicated to providing PEG derivatives and pharmaceutical intermediates to customers worldwide. We can supply kinds of excipients used in COVID-19 vaccines, such as mPEG-DTA (ALC-0159), mPEG-DMG, mPEG-DSPE, mPEG-CH2CH2CH2-NH2 and so on. We can also supply intermediates of anti-AIDS drug dolutegravir, such as (R)-3-Aminobutan-1-ol (CAS No. 61477-40-5) and R-3-Aminobutyric acid (CAS No. 3775-73-3).
J&J's HIV vaccine fails phase 2b, extending long wait for an effective jab