Researchers working on a late-stage trial for an HIV vaccine said Wednesday they are discontinuing their work, ending the latest hope for a breakthrough. File Photo by Arek Socha/Pixabay
Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Researchers working on a late-stage trial for an HIV vaccine said Wednesday they are discontinuing their work, ending the latest hope for a breakthrough.
The National Institutes of Health confirmed the news of the investigational trial of Mosaico, which began in 2019. It was the only HIV vaccine currently in a late-stage clinical trial.
The vaccine was initially developed by Janssen Vaccines & Prevention, owned by parent Johnson & Johnson. Patients received four injections over a year of the vaccine, which used a cold virus to deliver immunogens.
In addition to the pharmaceutical giant, the public-private partnership involved the HIV Vaccine Clinical Trials Network and U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command.
The trial, itself, looked at 3,900 men who have sex with men and transgender people between the ages of 18 and 60, in about 50 sites throughout Europe, North America and South America.
Scientists found the vaccine was safe but did not provide protection against contracting HIV among the study participants.
"[The result is] disappointing, but it isn't the end of the effort toward developing a vaccine," former NIH chief Dr. Anthony Fauci told the New York Times in an interview.
"There are other strategic approaches. The ultimate prevention modality for any infection, particularly viral infection, is a vaccine that's safe and effective," he said. "That's the reason why the field is going to continue to pursue very active research in that area."
A separate HIV vaccine trial ended with similar results in 2021. Researchers in that trial, involving women in five countries in sub-Saharan Africa also came to the conclusion the treatment was safe but also ineffective in protecting against the virus.
Johnson & Johnson stock was down 1.51% on the day, closing at $169.76.