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PaxVax Pursuing to Bring Forth Innovative HIV Vaccine Candidates

PaxVax seeks to revolutionize current HIV therapies

HIV Vaccine Candidate Overview

What is HIV?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) targets the body’s own immune system and, if not treated, may lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

What Causes HIV?

HIV attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the CD4 cells (T cells), which help the immune system fight off infections. Untreated, HIV reduces the number of CD4 cells (T cells) in the body, making the person more likely to get other infections or infection-related cancers. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease. These opportunistic infections or cancers take advantage of a very weak immune system and signal that the person has AIDS, the last stage of HIV infection.

What are HIV Symptoms?

Symptoms of HIV may include flu-like illness within 2-4 weeks after HIV infection. These symptoms, fever, chills, rash, night sweats, muscle aches, sore throat, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, mouth ulcers, etc. can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. During this time, HIV infection may not show up on an HIV test, but people who have it are highly infectious and can spread the infection to others. Each of these symptoms can be caused by other illnesses. And some people who have HIV do not show any symptoms at all for 10 years or more.

What are Trends in HIV Epidemiology?

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 the disease. While efforts such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PreP) have been effective in reducing the incidence of new infections in high risk groups, it requires consistent therapy and may be influenced by antiviral resistance.

PaxVax’s HIV Vaccine Pipeline Candidates

PaxVax has been granted more than $10M in support from NIH and NIAID’s Division of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (DAIDS) and others, to pursue two innovative HIV vaccine candidates. Both candidate vaccines are based on PaxVax’s live, orally administered adenovirus vectors, which 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.