Moderna, the biotech company that developed one of the first COVID-19 vaccines last year, is hoping to break new ground this week in fighting another pandemic: HIV/AIDS.
The company will soon begin human trials for their mRNA-based vaccine, according to information posted to the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) clinical trials database last week. Moderna is seeking 56 individuals, aged 18 to 50 and who are HIV-negative, for the trial, which is estimated to begin on August 19 and conclude in spring 2023. Moderna is also reportedly developing an influenza vaccine based on the same technology.
Moderna’s vaccines passed Phase I testing earlier this year, which involves testing for safety using only a handful of human volunteers. Phase II tests for a vaccine’s overall effectiveness, and with the move into Phase III, Moderna will be looking at its efficacy versus other prevention treatments currently on the market, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis, also known as PreP.
Since the late 1700s, researchers have developed several different types of vaccines, but most vaccines for other viruses have proven ineffective against HIV. Also known as the human immunodeficiency virus, it attacks the immune system itself and breaks down the body’s ability to fight other diseases and infections.