Barcelona (ACN).- A vaccine against HIV proves to generate an immune response in 90% of the individuals tested. Furthermore, the vaccine’s effects are still kept during at least one entire year in 85% of the individuals tested. The vaccine MVA-B is still a prototype but the results of its first test in humans presented this Wednesday are promising. It has been developed by the Spanish High Council of Scientific Research (CSIC), in collaboration with Barcelona’s Hospital Clínic and by Madrid’s Hospital Gregorio Marañón. Catalonia, and Barcelona in particular, are particularly strong in Biomedical research, becoming a true biomedical cluster in its own right. In addition, Barcelona’s Hospital Clínic is one of the leading centres in research against HIV-AIDS. The results of this project, led by Mariano Esteban from the CSIC, have been published in the specialised first-level journals ‘Vaccine’ and ‘Journal of Virology’. Now the vaccine will be studied in individuals infected with HIV-AIDS to study its impact as a therapeutic drug.
The vaccine MVA-B has been tested for the first time with humans, with 30 healthy individuals. The drug generated an immunologic response in 90% of the individuals. This means that 27 of the 30 individuals reacted to the vaccine and generated a response against HIV. In addition, the effects of this immune response are still present after a year of the vaccine’s inoculation in 85% of the tested individuals. The head of the project, Mariano Esteban, from the CSIC, stated that “the vaccine has proved to be highly immunogenic and safe”. In addition, Esteban explained that the MVA-B can be included “into the top division of the vaccines against HIV” that are now being tested and developed, as it can be “as powerful as some of them and much more powerful than many others”. One of the strong points of the MVA-B is the long-term effect of the vaccine, Esteban stated.
The vaccine has been tested in 30 healthy individuals. The test has been organised by Barcelona’s Hospital Clinic and Madrid’s Hospital Gregorio Marañón. It corresponds to the first phase of clinical tests with humans. In 2008, the MVA-B already obtained a high performance in tests with mice and macaques. Now the clinical tests with humans infected with HIV will start, in order to study the vaccine’s performance as a therapeutic vaccine.
In the first test with humans, the vaccine did not present worrying side effects. Juan Carlos Bernardo de Quirós, in charge of the team of Gregorio Marañón Hospital, explained that all side effects were “those expected in any type of vaccine, mainly with a local impact in the injection zone”. In addition, Felipe García, the head of the Hospital Clínic’s team, emphasised that caution was needed as the drug “ has been tested on 30 individuals and, despite the fact the response is powerful in most of the cases, it is still early to foresee if the induced defences will prevent the infection”.