Experimental mRNA HIV Vaccine Safe, Shows Promise in Animals; NIAID Scientists Developed Vaccine Platform

An experimental HIV vaccine based on mRNA—the same platform technology used in two highly effective COVID-19 vaccines—shows promise in mice and non-human primates, according to scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. Their results, published online on December 9, 2021 in Nature Medicine, show that the novel vaccine was safe and prompted desired antibody and cellular immune responses against an HIV-like virus. Rhesus macaques receiving a priming vaccine followed by multiple booster inoculations had a 79% lower per-exposure risk of infection by simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) compared to unvaccinated animals. The research was led by Paolo Lusso, MD, PhD, of NIAID’s Laboratory of Immunoregulation, in collaboration with other NIAID scientists, investigators from Moderna, Inc., and colleagues at other institutions. The open-access article is titled “A Multiclade env–gag VLP mRNA Vaccine Elicits Tier-2 HIV-1-Neutralizing Antibodies and Reduces the Risk of Heterologous SHIV Infection in Macaques.”
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