Powdered DNA-Based HIV Vaccine Ready for Human Clinical Trials
Human clinical trials of a new powdered DNA-based HIV vaccine are expected to begin next year, Reuters reports. The vaccine, which is being jointly developed by vaccine company PowderJect and drug maker GlaxoSmithKline, uses a small portion of HIV DNA to stimulate immune response. The vaccine consists of dry powder that is injected at supersonic speed into the skin, thus eliminating the need for needles. PowderJect Chair and CEO Paul Drayson said that the immune cells located in the top layer of the skin "act as little factories to convert the DNA into proteins" which stimulate immune response. He stated that trials of the vaccine among monkeys have shown that it is effective at controlling HIV viral load. Drayson added that the DNA-based vaccine is safer than traditional vaccines, which use a weakened form of HIV to prompt immune system response, because the DNA vaccine only delivers "one genetic component" of HIV, not a portion of the virus, into the body. If the vaccine proves to be safe and effective in clinical trials, it could be on the market at the end of the decade, Drayson said (Woodman, Reuters, 11/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.