France: 23,973 new cases for a total of 6,598,083 confirmed cases and 112 new deaths for a total of 113,134 deaths. In the face of COVID-19, the mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccine has shown great strength and become a worthy “anti-epidemic hero” in many countries. The success of the mRNA vaccine has also strengthened many people’s confidence in the technology’s prospects.
Recently, there was another piece of good news about the mRNA vaccine! Us biotech company Moderna announced on August 19 that it officially started phase I clinical trials of its HIV mRNA vaccine.
The phase I trial ended in April 2023
This is the first human clinical trial of the Modena AIDS messenger vaccine, according to the clinicalTrials.gov website. The phase I trial is scheduled to begin on August 19, 2021 and end in April 2023. The Modena AIDS vaccine is aimed primarily at young adults. A total of 56 hiv-free and healthy people, ranging in age from 18 to 50, participated in the phase I trial.
The purpose of phase I clinical trials is to test the safety of the vaccine, especially to observe the adverse reactions caused by the vaccine. The second is effectiveness, which is whether the antibodies produced by the vaccine can trigger an effective immune response. In addition, in phase I clinical trials, researchers will need to determine the dose and frequency of the vaccine. If the phase I trial goes well, phase II and III trials will be needed before modena’s AIDS vaccine can be marketed.
The company is also developing another AIDS vaccine and a vaccine for Zika, according to a statement released by The company on August 5. At present, 38 million people in the world are living with HIV, with 2 million new cases and 690,000 deaths each year, the circular said. “Between 2010 and 2015, the world spent us $526.6 billion on HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, which is an extremely heavy economic burden.” In other words, the world spends $105.32 billion on AIDS every year.
The mRNA could be the biggest challenge in HIV vaccine development
“It took only a few months for the COVID-19 vaccine to hit the market, why hasn’t an AIDS vaccine been developed for decades?” This is the question of many who are on the fence about COVID-19 vaccines. In fact, the search for an AIDS vaccine has never stopped.
AIDS is a disease that cannot be cured and prevented until now. Its pathogen HIV infects and kills immune system cells, including T cells and macrophages. As an RNA virus, HIV has a high frequency of mutation in its genome. After more than 30 years of research, there is still no effective HIV vaccine or treatment.
In February, Inserm, France’s national institute of health and Medical Research, launched its own trial of an AIDS vaccine, noting that its innovative technology had encountered “problems that traditional vaccines cannot solve”. The “puzzle” Inserm refers to is viral mutation: like the Novel coronavirus, HIV has a strong ability to change, rendering the antibodies produced by traditional vaccines ineffective.
Live attenuated virus (inactivated vaccine), recombinant protein vaccine (HPV), adenovirus vector (such as ebola vaccine) belong to the “traditional” vaccines, and messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine and the biggest difference between “traditional” vaccine is that the traditional vaccine or inactivated vaccines contain antigens of the immune response is induced, and the messenger vaccine is produced in the cell. In vaccination, artificially produced mrna provides the ribosome with instructions to build up the pathogen antigens it wants to fight, such as the S protein for the coronavirus.
The success of the COVID-19 messenger vaccine in the face of a variant has raised hopes that Modena’s AIDS messenger vaccine will also be as effective against the mutant HIV strain as its own COVID-19 messenger vaccine.
MRNA technology is popular
In addition to Modena, German company BioNTech is working on messenger vaccines for malaria and French pharmaceutical group Sanofi is working on messenger vaccines for influenza. A flu vaccine already exists, sanofi said, but it is important to develop a messenger vaccine because the flu virus mutates so quickly and it takes at least nine months for a conventional vaccine to be reformulated.
In fact, BioNTech’s founders have previously said that the vaccine can be reformulated to deal with new strains within 100 days if necessary, compared with the years or longer it usually takes to develop a vaccine using traditional technology.
It could be used to treat cancer
In addition, messenger RNA technology is expected to be used to treat cancer. BioNTech has made it clear that it wants to use the technology to treat prostate, cervical, ovarian and breast cancers, among others. In June, BioNTech began a phase II trial for advanced skin cancer. However, the lessons learned from COVID-19 vaccines cannot simply be applied to cancer cells. They’re much bigger than the virus. The immune system responds very differently. And, even for the same cancer, each patient has a different antigen, so a vaccine may need to be tailored to the patient.