HIV vaccine to begin international tests, including in US

Johnson & Johnson will start the testing later this year on 3,800 men.

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A new HIV vaccine will be tested on 3,800 men.

Mujahid Safodien / AFP / Getty Images

One of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies is taking the next step toward developing an HIV vaccine. Johnson & Johnson will begin testing the vaccine on 3,800 men later this year in Europe, South America and North America, including in the US, Bloomberg reported Friday.

A potential cure for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, arrives every few years -- including CRISPR gene-editing -- but remains elusive. HIV prevention and treatment have come a long way since the AIDS epidemic struck in the 1980s. But according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 million people worldwide die from AIDS-related illnesses annually.

The new vaccine is a tetravalent mosaic. It's made up of four components designed to raise the body's immunity to defend against different strands of the virus. In animal trials, the tetravalent mosaic worked on two-thirds of animals tested and is so far considered safe for humans, Bloomberg reported. 

Study participants will be men who have sex with men. They will receive six shots of the vaccine over four sessions. Results from the trials are expected in 2023. 

Trials for a variation of the vaccine are already under way in Africa. Called the Imbokodo study, those trials include 2,600 women across five African countries. With both studies taking place at similar times, approval from government agencies could potentially come quicker. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.