In 1st human trial, a new HIV vaccine with a 97% antibody response rate shows promise
In Phase I trials, A novel vaccine approach for the prevention of HIV has shown promise
to trigger the activation of naïve B cells via a process called germline-targeting, IAVI and Scripps Research reported that the vaccine which is being developed to act as an immune primer successfully stimulated the production of the rare immune cells needed to generate antibodies against HIV in 97 percent of participants as the first stage in a multi-step vaccine regimen to elicit the production of many different types of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs),
It is hoped that these specialized blood proteins could attach to HIV surface proteins called spikes and disable them via difficult-to-access regions that does not vary much from strain to strain.
Which allow the virus to enter human cells, European Pharmaceutical Review reported that stimulating the production of bnAbs has been pursued as a holy grail in HIV for decades. ,
A professor and immunologist at Scripps Research and executive director of vaccine design at IAVI’s Neutralizing Antibody Center, Dr William Schief whose laboratory developed the vaccine said;
“We and others postulated many years ago that in order to induce bnAbs, you must start the process by triggering the right B cells – cells that have special properties giving them potential to develop into bnAb-secreting cells.
“In this trial, the targeted cells were only about one in a million of all naïve B cells. To get the right antibody response, we first need to prime the right B cells. The data from this trial affirms the ability of the vaccine immunogen to do this.
“This study demonstrates proof of principle for a new vaccine concept for HIV, a concept that could be applied to other pathogens as well. With our many collaborators on the study team, we showed that vaccines can be designed to stimulate rare immune cells with specific properties and this targeted stimulation can be very efficient in humans. We believe this approach will be key to making an HIV vaccine and possibly important for making vaccines against other pathogens.”