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Current Affairs

Experimental HIV vaccine

Date: 31 January 2022 Tags: Biotechnology


Vaccine giant Moderna is developing a vaccine that can neutralise using HIV-1 antibodies (bNAbs) and eventually target multiple HIV strains.



Since the discovery of HIV 40 years ago, medications for disease have been elusive.



  • The mRNA vaccine is under trials and the first dose of the vaccine was administered recently in Washington DC.

  • The technology used in the vaccine is same as that of the Covid-19 vaccine. It uses mRNA to teach the body’s cells how to make proteins that trigger immune response.

  • Non-profit foundation International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and Scripps Research were involved in developing immunogens, which were delivered by mechanism of Moderna.


The working

The broadly neutralising HIV-1 antibodies (bNAbs) are rare and produced by certain B cells. The vaccine will stimulate B cells to produce bNAbs to act against many variants of HIV.



  • It is the first-in-human, open label study to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of the HIV vaccines.

  • They will test efficacy of vaccines mRNA-1644 and mRNA-1644v2-Core in HIV-infected individuals. 


Previous studies of bNAbs

  • Previous studies of HIV vaccines have shown that antibodies produced were either ineffective or partially effective. The bNAbs are more potent than reactive antibodies.

  • Initial studies have shown that the bNAbs can overcome genetic variability of HIV by targeting the regions of the envelope protein, which is known as ‘glycan shield’.


HIV burden

  • According to WHO, about 36.3 million people have lost their lives so far to the disease. In India, around 2.1 million people suffer.

  • Eventhough it does not have a cure, it has become a manageable chronic disease with better access to effective prevention, diagnosis and treatment.