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Moderna Launches Trial Testing New mRNA HIV Vaccine

Moderna, the biotechnology company responsible for one of the COVID-19 vaccines, has begun its phase 1 trial of an experimental HIV vaccine that utilizes the company’s mRNA technology used to create the COVID-19 vaccine.

The first participant in the trial took their first dose on January 27.  The trial, called IAVI G002, is testing a vaccine that delivers HIV-specific antigens to the body with the intention of inducing an immune response. In a “proof-of-concept” trial last year, the research team found the HIV antigens produced the desired immune response in 97 percent of participants. The new trial is being conducted in partnership with IAVI, a nonprofit scientific research organization.

“We are tremendously excited to be advancing this new direction of HIV vaccine design with Moderna’s mRNA platform,” Mark Feinberg, IAVI’s president and CEO, said in a press release from Moderna. “The search for an HIV vaccine has been long and challenging, and having new tools in terms of immunogens and platforms could be the key to making rapid progress toward an urgently needed, effective HIV vaccine.”

IAVI G002 will follow 56 HIV-negative adult participants. 48 of the volunteers will receive at least one dose, 32 will also receive the booster, and the remaining eight will receive the booster alone. The Hope Clinic of Emory Vaccine Center is one of four sites across the country hosting the trial.