The drug Ad26 showed a high success and safety in trials on healthy people, caused the right effect of the immune system and protected rhesus monkeys from a monkey virus combined, analog HIV.
For the experiment, the researchers recruited 393 healthy (non-HIV infected) adults ranging in age from 18 to 50 from 12 clinics in East Africa, South Africa, Thailand, and the United States.
Barouch disclosed support from the NIH, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Janssen Vaccines & Prevention BV, and is a co-inventor on HIV-1 vaccine antigen patents that have been licensed to Janssen Vaccines & Prevention BV.
The mosaic vaccine combination that showed the most promise in humans was found to protect 67% of the 72 monkeys from getting the disease.
Results showed that all vaccine regimens tested were capable of generating anti-HIV immune responses in healthy individuals and were well tolerated, with similar numbers of local and systemic reactions reported in all groups, most of which were mild-to-moderate in severity.
"This study demonstrates that the mosaic Ad26 prime, Ad26 plus gp140 boost HIV vaccine candidate induced robust immune responses in humans and monkeys with comparable magnitude, kinetics, phenotype, and durability", said Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, who led the study. An estimated 37 million people live with HIV/Aids, according to the World Health Organisation.
The fight against HIV continues, and the HIV vaccine developed by researchers at Harvard brings hope to medical professionals and people all over the world. This invention was a real challenge for scientists, because of this virus many strains.
Both participants and researchers were "blinded" to what they'd been given, which meant the results should not have been affected by people making decisions based on what they thought their vaccination status was.
A parallel study in rhesus monkeys was also performed so that immunogenicity and protective efficacy of the various vaccines could be assessed and the optimal vaccine regimen could be realised to transfer to further clinical studies.
"Despite all the advances we have had with HIV, we need a vaccine".
In total, it's approximated that almost 80 million people have been infected since the HIV virus was first detected in the early 1980s - and 35 million have died.
The study used so-called "mosaic" vaccine combinations.
"I can not emphasise how badly we need to have a vaccine.to get rid of HIV in the next generation altogether", said Francois Venter of the University of the Witwatersrand Reproductive Health and HIV Institute in South Africa. They also note that there is no definitive immunological measurement that is known to predict protection against HIV-1 in humans.
In the near four decades since the start of the Aids crisis, this is only the fifth experimental vaccine that has progressed to a stage where it can be tested on humans.
These types of trials are created to test out whether an intervention is safe and works at the most basic level.
The most effective version, given to 12 monkeys, managed to provide protection to 8 of them, while the other 4 eventually became infected.
The hope is that it could offer much better protection against the nearly unlimited number of HIV strains found across the world.