A vaccine that has delivered promising results in treating all known strains of HIV is moving on to large scale testing in humans, pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson says.
The company’s Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels made the announcement at the recent Global Citizen festival.
“For the past ten years, we have been working on an HIV vaccine, using an innovative technology platform, the same technology we are using to make vaccines for Ebola and Zika,” he explained.
Previous attempts at a HIV vaccine have struggled against the virus’ diversity and ability to rapidly mutate.
Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine exposes the body to different pieces of the virus in a “mosaic” to get a broader response from the immune system.
In July, the company first announced promising results in a smaller study of the vaccine.
“In early stage clinical studies, we have seen 100 percent immune response in 350 healthy volunteers who participated in the study,” Stoffels told the Global Citizens Festival.
“Today, we are thrilled to announce for the first time that we are going into large scale efficacy testing of the vaccine in humans.
“As a scientist and a physician, I can tell you, this vaccine holds the promise of groundbreaking development.
“We all know that science is unpredictable, but these results make me more optimistic than ever that we will get to a vaccine in our lifetime and prevent people from contracting HIV forever.”
The next phase of testing will be conducted on 2,600 women in five African countries.
In the study, it’s hoped an efficacy rate of 90% will be reached, but even a rate of 50% would be able to reduce the HIV rate by 35%, scientists said.
Late last month, scientists from the US National Institutes of Health and pharmaceutical company Sanofi announced they’d combined three natural HIV antibodies into one to attack 99% of known HIV strains.