March 25, 2003
25 March 2003 -- IAVI has renewed its collaboration with Targeted Genetics Corp. and Columbus Children’s Research Institute (CCRI) to build a preventive AIDS vaccine for developing countries. IAVI will provide up to US$5.6 million in funding to continue the development of a recombinant adeno-associated virus-based (rAAV) vaccine that has shown promising results in animal studies. The vaccine is expected to enter Phase I human trials by the end of 2003.
IAVI’s funding agreement with Targeted Genetics and CCRI ensures that, if it proves effective, the vaccine will be made available to developing countries at reasonable prices, in sufficient quantities.
The vaccine is tailored to subtype C of HIV, which is most prevalent in southern and eastern Africa. Scientists do not yet know if subtype matters for a vaccine. In case it does, IAVI is prioritizing vaccines for subtypes in developing countries.
The rAAV AIDS vaccine consists of HIV genes inserted into adeno-associated virus - a small, stable virus not known to cause disease in humans. The rAAV vaccine may be able to be delivered in one shot, rather than requiring multiple doses. The vaccine is a preventive vaccine, intended for people who are not infected with HIV. As with all current candidates, the vaccine contains only synthetic copies of noninfectious portions of HIV, so it cannot cause HIV infection.
Currently, rAAV is one of six approaches for an AIDS vaccine in development with IAVI support. IAVI sponsors multiple approaches because while scientists are confident that an AIDS vaccine is feasible, they are uncertain which of many possible designs will yield success. One vaccine candidate, a DNA-MVA vaccine that IAVI is developing in collaboration with the University of Oxford and the University of Nairobi, has already progressed to Phase I/II human trials in Europe, Uganda and Kenya.