The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 34 million people are living with HIV worldwide and nearly 3 million people are newly infected each year. The advent of combination antiretroviral therapy has dramatically improved the lives and survival of people infected with HIV. Over the past 15 years treatments have continued to improve, most recently demonstrating their potential to reduce the risk of sexually acquired HIV infection in adults at high risk. While antiretroviral therapies have helped control progression to AIDS, they cannot cure or stop the spread of HIV infection and disease. For every person that begins treatment, it has been estimated that globally three more become infected. Although none currently exist, the development of a safe and effective preventive vaccine against HIV remains a high priority given its potential to transform the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world at risk of infection. It is, however, one of the most complex and costly scientific endeavors ever undertaken. A safe, highly effective and accessible preventive HIV vaccine would complement other preventive approaches, and support the interruption of the HIV transmission chain.
Our Vaccine Candidate
With more than $10M of support from NIH and NIAID’s Division of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (DAIDS) and others, we are pursuing two innovative HIV vaccine candidates, both of which are based on our live, orally administered adenovirus vectors, and they are designed to be administered as a combination vaccine. The first vaccine component (Ad4-env Clade C) expresses an optimized HIV envelope protein derived from a Clade C HIV strain, and is intended primarily to induce an effective antibody response. The second vaccine component (Ad4-mGag) expresses an optimized HIV gag protein, and is intended to induce broadly reactive T cell responses. Both vaccine candidates are currently in Phase 1 clinical trials.