A new vaccine against HIV, developed and patented by the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), has been tested in humans, managing to induce an immune response against the virus in 90% of the individuals to whom it has been administered. , and it has been proven, in addition, that the effects of the drug are maintained for a year at least in 85% of cases.
Mariano Esteban, a researcher at the National Center for Biotechnology, and responsible for the study, said that the vaccine - a prototype known as 'MVA-B' - has proven to be highly immunogenic and safe, and is as potent as some, and much more than many other vaccines that are currently under investigation.
More than ten years ago this vaccine began to develop, which acts on subtype B of HIV, which is the most prevalent in Europe and America. 30 healthy subjects participated in the first phase I study carried out with humans. Twenty-four of the participants were given the vaccine in three doses intramuscularly, while the remaining six received placebo. After a follow-up of 48 weeks, it was observed that 90% of the cases developed an immune response that was maintained over time in most of them (85%).
It has been observed that the vaccine is capable of stimulating cells and antibodies, and with the next studies it is tried to verify if this is enough to protect humans against HIV
The clinical trial has also served to demonstrate that the drug is safe and that the side effects it has caused are mild, and in most cases similar to those caused by any other vaccine, such as local type in the area where apply the injection.
Administering a vaccine to healthy people aims to ensure that immune system Be ready to detect and combat the various components of the virus. In this function, both antibodies and certain cells that are key in the defense against pathogens, such as antibodies, play a very important role. T lymphocytes CD4 and CD8.
The new vaccine, as explained by Felipe García, researcher at the Clínic de Barcelona, Felipe García, and also responsible for the study, has demonstrated its capacity to stimulate both cells and antibodies, but now it is necessary to verify if these defenses are sufficient to protect to humans against HIV.
It will be tested in patients with HIV
The next step, as the scientists have announced, will be to start a phase I study to determine the efficacy and safety of this vaccine in HIV-infected patients, since, as Esteban says, it is usual to also test the therapeutic capacity of many preventive vaccines, in order to check if they can induce an immune memory capable of stopping the virus when patients leave the treatment.
In the new study, 30 patients will participate who follow a stable treatment and have never suffered from immunodeficiency thanks to the use of antiretrovirals.
Juan Carlos López Bernaldo de Quirós, researcher at Gregorio Marañón, believes that if an immune response occurs in 50% of patients, it could be considered commercialization because it would save millions of lives.