News » GW Serving as Site for HIV Vaccine Trial

GW Serving as Site for HIV Vaccine Trial

The George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) is one of only two sites chosen for the first clinical trial of the eOD-GT8 60mer HIV vaccine candidate, sponsored by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI).

Founded in 1996, IAVI is a nonprofit scientific research organization with a mission to develop vaccines and other biomedical innovations that prevent HIV infection. IAVI is committed to supporting the broad field of HIV vaccine research and to fostering collaborations that accelerate the development and availability of new prevention tools.

David Diemert, MD, associate professor of medicine at SMHS, will serve as the principal investigator for the site and Jeffrey Bethony, PhD, professor of microbiology, immunology, and tropical medicine at SMHS, will direct specimen processing and biorepository efforts for the trial at GW.

“Serving as a site for this trial is a great opportunity for GW,” Bethony said. “We have the chance to be part of a big moment in HIV and vaccine science.”

The HIV vaccine candidate is intended to stimulate the immune system to initiate a key first step in the generation of potent proteins, known as broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs), against HIV.

“Evidence has shown that bNAbs are likely the most promising way to protect against HIV infection,” said Diemert. “They have been shown to effectively neutralize many diverse strains of the virus in the laboratory.”

The trial will enroll 48 healthy adult volunteers who will receive two doses of the vaccine administered over two months. The research team will evaluate the safety of the vaccine and the immune responses it is able to induce.

The vaccine candidate was developed with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Immunogen Discovery, and Scripps Research. The trial also will take place at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington with results expected in late 2019.

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