World HIV Vaccine Day 2020

18 May 2020

World HIV Vaccine Day is a global call to support the efforts to develop vaccines to prevent HIV infection. Fortunately, immense progress has been made in the field of prophylactic use of HIV drugs, even though key vulnerable populations remain hard to reach. Tragically, the HIV-epidemic is far from being under control.


The UNAIDS Report 2019 made it clear that in 2018, every week, 6000 adolescent girls and young women became infected with HIV. Current demographic trends in Africa foresee increasing numbers of young people at risk of HIV exposure and increasing numbers of adults living with chronic HIV disease at risk of co-morbidities as they age. Four in five new HIV infections among adolescents aged 10–19 years concern girls.

“To end the HIV epidemic, development of safe, effective and affordable vaccines remains critical, in addition to the tools already developed. Complementary to other HIV research priorities, our strategic research agenda for HIV focuses primarily on trials of innovative biomedical HIV prevention tools including vaccines. Currently, EDCTP supports two HIV vaccine studies as part of our comprehensive HIV portfolio.”

Dr Michael Makanga, EDCTP Executive Director

GREAT and PrEPVacc

The GREAT project will test an improved prototype HIV vaccine in high-risk and vulnerable African populations. Professor Thomas Hanke and his team (Oxford University, United Kingdom) have developed a second-generation vaccine, tHIVconsvX, which is a ‘mosaic’ including several widely shared antigens and multiple variants of antigens known to stimulate strong T-cell responses. In addition, it incorporates antigens that, in patients, are associated with relatively good control of HIV replication. This extensive combination of antigens in a single vaccine, partnered with a potent delivery system, has generated encouraging results in animal models and initial human studies. Read the portfolio description.

The PrEPVacc clinical trial, led by Professor Jonathan Weber (Imperial College, United Kingdom) is the first study to test whether a combination of pre-exposure prophylaxis and an experimental vaccine can prevent HIV infection. These two approaches to HIV prevention are combined in a large-scale phase II trial. It will assess the impact of two experimental HIV vaccine regimens, already tested and shown to be safe in people, when used alongside antiretroviral-based PrEP. The vaccine regimens both combine DNA-based and protein-based elements, as used in the RV144 trial. Read the portfolio description

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