By Emiliano Rodríguez Mega
An experimental HIV vaccine that targets more strains of the virus than any other developed so far will start a late-stage clinical trial later this year. The ‘mosaic’ vaccine, which incorporates genetic material from HIV strains from around the world, also seems to have the longest-lasting effects of any others tested in people.
Small trials of the mosaic vaccine in people showed that it prompted an immune response, such as the production of antibodies, against HIV. But starting in September, scientists will test it in thousands of people to assess whether the vaccine provides any protection against HIV infection. The phase III trial will test the vaccine in transgender individuals and in men who have sex with men across the Americas and Europe.
These communities are disproportionately affected by HIV, with about two-thirds of new infections in the United States occurring among gay and bisexual men, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The team running the trial, which they’ve named Mosaico, discussed the project during the 10th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science in Mexico City last week.
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