File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – The HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) has announced it has fully enrolled its four ongoing large-scale HIV vaccine efficacy trials.

The clinical trials, under way in 12 countries on four continents, are made possible by 12 669 study participants and the collaborative efforts of HVTN study teams, all on a journey to find a safe and effective HIV vaccine.

Nearly 37 million people around the globe live with HIV, with 70% of those affected in sub-Saharan Africa.

Globally there are an estimated 5 000 new transmissions each day, and new effective prevention strategies are essential to reducing HIV transmission.

HVTN external relations director Steven Wakefield said the clinical trials underscored the importance of global public-private partnerships.

“Every day, we recognise and appreciate the unwavering commitment of our study participants, communities, scientific teams, funders, and governments who make the research to help end HIV possible. 

"Public-private partnerships, such as the Pox Protein Public-Private Partnership (P5), are essential to the pursuit of a safe and effective HIV vaccine. 

"Such partnerships draw on collective fiscal resources and scientific leadership and work with in-country communities across continents to make the global response to help end HIV possible,” Wakefield said.

HVTN 703 and 704, also known as the antibody mediated prevention (AMP) studies are fully enrolled, with 4 625 participants from communities in the US, Brazil, Peru, Switzerland, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, Kenya, Malawi and Mozambique.

The AMP studies are the most advanced clinical trials to test whether a broadly neutralising antibody (BNAB), called VRC01, can prevent HIV acquisition in people.

HVTN 702, also known as Uhambo, is fully enrolled with 5 407 healthy, HIV-negative men and women between 18 and 35 years old.

HVTN 702, under way in South Africa, is testing an experimental vaccine regimen against HIV.

HVTN 705, also known as Imbokodo, is fully enrolled with 2 637 healthy, HIV-negative women in South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe between the ages of 18 and 35. 

Imbokodo is testing an experimental vaccine regimen designed to offer protection against a variety of global HIV strains.

HVTN principal investigator and virologist Larry Corey said: “Our scientific journey is remarkable. We are in a fortunate position to serve global communities through science and work with them to help end HIV.”

Cape Times

Since its inception in 1999, the HVTN has conducted 75 clinical trials involving more than 22 000 study participants.