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UOL columnist Rico Vasconcelos published an article talking about two studies showing a vaccine that prevents HIV infection. Developed by researchers at Harvard University, in the United States, this vaccine achieved 67% protection in experiments carried out with monkeys.
It uses the vector Adenovirus 26, which is harmless to humans, used in the vaccine to carry the information for the production of HIV proteins grafted into its genetic material. After injected into a person, the virus starts to replicate and produces HIV proteins, causing a defense response against them and against HIV, without the person having had contact with the real virus.
With humans, studies show that the vaccine has no serious side effects and they are able to induce the production of antibodies satisfactorily among those vaccinated.
However, it remains to be seen whether antibodies also protect against HIV infection as well as they protected monkeys. To have this answer, two large clinical trials are being conducted simultaneously to test the protective effectiveness of the vaccine.
One of them, Mosaico, intends to recruit 3,800 gay or bi men, and trans people in the Americas and Europe, which are regions that present the epidemic concentrated in these groups. Here in Brazil, the study will recruit participants in São Paulo (Hospital das Clínicas, FMUSP and CRT DST AIDS), Rio de Janeiro (Fiocruz and General Hospital of Nova Iguaçu), Belo Horizonte (UFMG), Manaus (Fundação Medicina Tropical ) and Curitiba (Centro Médico São Francisco). Some of them have already started participant screening visits.
The second is called Imbokodo, which included, between 2017 and 2019, 2,637 cisgender women aged 18 to 29 in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi. In these countries, there is an HIV epidemic concentrated on straight cis women.
Those who participate in the study are those who are considered vulnerable to HIV, and they will be randomly assigned to receive four doses of the experimental vaccine or the placebo at random. They will also receive all the support currently available for HIV prevention and will be followed for about two years, undergoing quarterly testing.
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