COVID-19: Corona vaccine raises hope for treatment of HIV, Moderna announces trial

New Delhi. The search for a vaccine has found new hope 40 years after the global AIDS epidemic. American pharmaceutical and biotech company Moderna has recently announced the trial of two AIDS vaccines. These vaccines are also mRNA based, on this technology the company has also made Coronavirus Vaccine. Moderna is the first company in the world, which has made the first mRNA-based vaccine for Kovid-19.

Moderna will trial two versions of its HIV vaccine. This is the first mRNA-based vaccine for AIDS, which will be tested on humans. According to the US National Institutes of Health’s Clinical Trial Registry, 56 HIV-negative people aged 18 to 50 have been selected for the first phase of the trial. There will be four groups in the first phase of the trial. Two of these groups will be given a mixed dose of the vaccine, while the other two groups will be given any one of the two vaccines. However, people participating in the trial will know which group they are in.

How will the mRNA vaccine trial be done?
Let us tell you that both of Moderna’s vaccines will be used with a second vaccine, which has been developed by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and Scripps Research. In fact, the formula is that both Moderna’s vaccines have the ability to produce specific types of B-cells, which develop effective antibodies, while the second vaccine induces these antibodies to kill the virus. This study is sponsored by IAVI and the first phase of the trial will run till May 2023, the first phase may take 10 months to complete.

How many AIDS patients in the world
According to the World Health Organization, AIDS has killed more than 36.3 million people worldwide so far. It is estimated that by the end of 2020, more than 37 million people worldwide (37.7 million) are living with HIV infection. However, there is no cure for HIV yet. But in recent years health experts have succeeded in managing HIV with effective prevention, diagnosis and care. According to the 2019 HIV report of India’s National AIDS Control Organization, more than 23 lakh are living with HIV infection. However, since the year 2000, there has been a decline in the prevalence of HIV among people in the age group of 15 to 49 in India. And it seems to be stabilizing in recent years.

Why is it difficult to make an AIDS vaccine?
Dr RR Gangakhedkar, former head of the Department of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and former director of the National AIDS Research Institute, said that HIV changes its nature very rapidly, making it difficult to provide antibody cover. Is. Along with this, the outer appearance of the HIV virus is covered with a sugar coating, which makes it difficult for the body to produce an immune response. Dr Gangakhedkar, CG Pandit National Chair at ICMR said, ‘Anti-HIV vaccine is a challenge, because this virus replicates itself very rapidly and mutates equally fast. Due to the high replication rate, mutants are produced that depress the immune system.

understand hiv virus
At the same time, Dr. Gagandeep Kang said that in the case of HIV, by the time the body produces antibodies, the virus changes its form and antibodies cannot eliminate the virus. Due to the constantly changing mutations, the virus is able to make antibodies. Dr. Kang said that for example, if you study the virus sequence of an HIV-infected person, you will find that the nature of the virus has changed at an interval of three months, there will be a lot of difference between the virus sequence before and after three months.

Previous attempts to make a vaccine
Dr. Kang said that earlier there had been efforts for inactivated forms of the virus and adenovirus virus vector-based vaccine, but without success. He said that some HIV clinical trials were done earlier, but due to the vaccine being ineffective, either they were stopped and postponed. On the other hand, in the case of adenovirus vector vaccine, it was found that the participants participating in the trial were more vulnerable to HIV, rather than being protected due to the vaccine.

Dr Sanjay Pujari, an expert member and infectious disease advisor on the National COVID-19 Task Force, said, “The main challenge in creating an HIV vaccine has been the inability to identify precise correlates of immune response, which can provide protection against the vast diversity of HIV. needs to be inspired. Also inducing broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV proteins and CD8 T cells has been the main focus.

mRNA is a new ray of hope
Dr Kang said that Moderna’s trial is completely different, as it uses a technology to design and develop the vaccine rapidly. This is similar to the development of a corona virus vaccine, in which the body’s cells can produce a spike in envelope of the virus, which triggers an immune response.

Dr Pujari said that in the context of HIV, the mRNA vaccine has given promising results during trials in vitro and on monkeys, so testing it on humans will be very useful. It is expected that the mRNA vaccine will modify the human RNA in such a way that other variants of HIV do not arise and do not escape the immune response system. Dr Pujari said that so far the biggest challenge in the development of mRNA vaccine has been technology. But, by making mRNA vaccine of corona virus, we have achieved success in this.

What experts say about the vaccine
Experts say that in the case of HIV vaccine, there can be two ways – one of prevention and the other of treatment. Dr. Kang said that in the case of a preventive vaccine, it will be seen how many people get HIV infection after getting the vaccine. Or whether resistance against HIV develops in people who have been vaccinated. On the other hand, in the case of a treated vaccine, an immune response will be generated in the person’s body, which will kill the infected cell and prevent the infection from spreading further.

‘Drugs have to be taken for life, there are side effects’
Dr. Pujari said that therapeutic (cure) vaccine was used, but there was no success. Dr Gangakhedkar said that the therapeutic vaccine would have to induce the human cell to produce resistant antibodies on a large scale. He said, ‘Antiretroviral therapy can stop the spread of infection, some people have to take medicines for life, and it has side effects. But a medical vaccine and drugs can become a cure for HIV. However, they should be tested over a longer period of time to find out how long the immune response lasts.

He said that the cases of HIV infection are decreasing, the risk of HIV is also decreasing. Apart from this, HIV cases have also decreased through other preventive measures, but due to these it is difficult for trials to know whether the vaccine against HIV is able to produce resistant antibodies on a large scale.

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