Animal experiments have proven the safety of the new mRNA vaccine against HIV. Reported by the National Institutes of Health, USA.

Scientists from the United States have created an HIV vaccine based on mRNA. Preclinical trials in macaques have shown that the drug can reduce the risk of contracting the virus by 79%. However, the authors of the vaccine note in an article published in the journal Nature Medicine that the drug needs to be improved. This is because it does not generate levels of antibodies suitable for protection. The use of the vaccine is also complicated by the fact that it must be administered several times.

“Despite 40 years of global research efforts, an effective vaccine to prevent HIV remains an elusive goal,” said Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of the laboratory and co-author of the article, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). “But our experimental mRNA vaccine combines several functions that could overcome the shortcomings of other experimental HIV vaccines.”

The peculiarity of the drug is that it works like a mRNA vaccine for COVID-19. However, instead of carrying the mRNA instructions for the coronavirus spike protein, the vaccine provides coded instructions for making two key HIV proteins, Env and Gag. The muscle cells of the inoculated animal harvest both proteins to produce virus-like particles (VLPs) coated with multiple copies of Env on their surface. Although they cannot cause infection or disease due to the lack of the complete genetic code of HIV, VLPs correspond to the whole infectious HIV in terms of stimulating suitable immune responses.