If you thought Moderna peaked with the COVID-19 vaccine, pull up a chair, because we’ve got news. The biotech company revealed that it’s set to start human trials for two versions of an HIV vaccine this week.
It’s a monumental step that has us oohing and aahing. But what does it actually mean, and when can we expect an approved vaccine? Here’s the tea.
It features the same mRNA technology used to develop the COVID-19 shot
Reports say the vaccines, mRNA-1644 and mRNA-1644v2, were developed using the same mRNA technology used to produce the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Both have cleared initial safety requirements and are ready for human testing.
Reminder: mRNA vaccines don’t mutate your DNA or include pieces of a virus. They teach your cells to create proteins that trigger an immune response via antibodies and T cells that attack unwelcome viruses.
Initial clinical trials will be small
Phase 1 of the trials will include 56 participants ages 18 to 50 who don’t have HIV and are in generally good health. The goal is to further test the safety of the vaccines while looking for any signs of early immunity properties triggered by the shots.
We’ll have to wait until 2023 for results
As of this writing, the trials are set to conclude in April 2023 (meaning that’s when the last participant will have been examined, assessed, and cataloged).
From there, the researchers will use the data to (hopefully) move into Phase 2, expanded clinical trials. After that, the vaccine will have to pass Phase 3 trials before it can get the green light for public use.
It’s too early to say when a fully functioning HIV vaccine will be approved, but for now we’ll fist-pump knowing we’re one step closer.