This is a key step that has just been taken by a French start-up, and which gives rise to real hope.
The results “are not yet published, and analyzes are in progress”. Although Professor Yves Lévy remains on his guard, the experimental HIV preventive vaccine that he develops cannot prevent him from declaring: “We have just passed a crucial stage”.
With scientists from the Vaccine Research Institute (VRI) in Créteil, the immunologist has been working on this preventive product for more than a decade.
A first attempt at Phases 1-2
At Le Parisien on Tuesday, he specified: “we passed phase 1-2”. In detail, he indicated that three doses of the experimental product were injected into 72 volunteers “not at risk”in France and Switzerland.
The follow-up that lasted a year “shows that our vaccine is well tolerated and that it induces an interesting immune response” against HIV. In fact, phase 3 is the next one.
A novel technology vaccine
In February 2021, he explained that the technology used “is based on the injection of monoclonal antibodies which specifically target key cells of the immune response, the dendritic cells”and that’s not all since “this is the first time that a vaccine has directly targeted these cells”.
And the specialist to further clarify: “Our injection sends the information directly to them thanks to a kind of missile, an antibody that targets a receptor on the surface of these cells, on which we have attached virus fragments”.
A protection that remains to be verified
Even if the body presents an immune response to this vaccine, to date it is not yet entirely clear whether the body will be sufficiently protected against a real infection. This is why, he adds, “we need a third phase of tests with populations at risk” to be infected with the virus responsible for AIDS.
According to him, the results of phase III will not be available for two to three years, and prudence encourages him to specify that they could prove negative, even after more than ten years of work.
Last August, we learned that a patient had been cured after a stem cell transplant.