Moderna Pharmaceuticals and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) announced Thursday that they have begun clinical trials of an HIV vaccine using messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, the same technology used for its Covid-19 vaccine.
In a statement, the company said the first doses of the experimental product have begun to be administered at a Washington hospital as part of a Phase 1 trial involving 56 HIV-negative adults.
The vaccine seeks to stimulate the production of antibodies capable of acting against different variants of circulating HIV with a first dose and a booster dose via mRNA.
Moderna’s CEO, Stephen Hoge, said that mRNA offers a unique opportunity to address a variety of health needs around the world and considered that moving forward with this HIV program is a very important step.
The project, which also involves the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will follow patients for at least six months and their immune responses will be analyzed at the molecular level to assess the responses achieved.
Moderna is working on more than two dozen programs using mRNA technology, including potential vaccines for influenza or the Nipah virus, among others.
So far, its vaccine against Covid-19 is the only one approved of all those developed by the company.