San Raffaele Hospital in Milan leads a clinical study for a new HIV vaccine
The search for a vaccine to control HIV infection has been ongoing for years, and now, a new clinical study led by the teams at the San Raffaele hospital in Milan is bringing hope. The study, known as the San Raffaele HIV-CORE007, aims to test the safety profile and immune response of a new vaccine, named HIVconsvX, in people living with HIV.
The study, financed by the Ministry of Health, plans to enroll 33 HIV-1 positive volunteers who have been on antiretroviral therapy for at least three months and have stably controlled the infection for at least two years. The vaccine will be administered intramuscularly for the first time and then a second time after four weeks.
“We hypothesize that this vaccination regimen is able to enhance the immune response against relevant sequences of the HIV genome and thus favor the control of its replication,” states Raffaele Dell’Acqua, infectious disease specialist and principal investigator of the study.
The vaccine, provided by Professor Tomas Hanke of the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford, has already shown encouraging results in volunteers without HIV infection. HIVconsvX is a mosaic vaccine created for a wide range of HIV-1 variants, potentially applicable to different HIV strains in any geographic region.
The challenge of developing an effective HIV vaccine lies in the virus’s great variability and mutability. However, a therapeutic vaccine could promote long-lasting and effective control of the infection, improving the well-being and quality of life for people living with HIV.
The search for new treatments, including vaccines, remains a top priority for the international scientific community, especially as there are currently 85.6 million people living with HIV worldwide. In Italy alone, there are approximately 160,000 people living with HIV, and the search for new treatments is crucial.
While antiretroviral therapies have been successful in blocking the replication of the virus and making its presence undetectable in the blood, the need for lifelong treatment and the potential for side effects emphasize the urgency for a vaccine. The hope is that the new HIVconsvX vaccine will bring us closer to achieving effective control of HIV infection and improving the lives of those living with the virus.