The first immunizations began early this year for MHRP’s first preclinical animal study of an mRNA HIV
Messenger RNA, or mRNA, vaccines instruct the body to make selected viral proteins, and ultimately train the immune system to recognize and eliminate the virus. Novel immunogens termed “structural mosaics” have been co-designed by Barton Haynes, of Duke University, and Bette Korber, of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, to induce antibodies targeting the V1V2 region of the HIV envelope. These structural mosaics will be expressed through vaccination with the mRNA.
The current study will evaluate the efficacy of structural mosaic mRNA vaccine with or without a protein vaccine boost in the protection of rhesus macaques from repeated challenges with SHIV, a virus that mimics HIV infection in primates.
Researchers will examine cellular, humoral and innate immune responses induced by the candidate
vaccines to determine their immunogenicity, the impact of the protein boost and potential mechanisms of protection. The vaccines being tested by MHRP were made by the Duke Human Vaccine Institute in collaboration
with the University of Pennsylvania. The Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences (AFRIMS) is conducting the study.