UFMG seeks volunteers to test HIV vaccine

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The Faculty of Medicine of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) is looking for cisgender men, who have sex with other men and transgender people, for phase 3 tests of the effectiveness of a vaccine against the HIV virus, the cause of AIDS.

Called Mosaic, the research results from international cooperation between institutions from eight countries and is carried out within the scope of the HVTN Network, with funding from Johnson & Johnson. The great advantage of this vaccine candidate is that it is able to include protection for several subtypes of HIV.

According to the research coordinator at UFMG, professor Jorge Andrade Pinto, “HIV-1, which is the most common type, has nine subtypes and several recombinant forms, in which these subtypes mix”. This is the biggest difficulty, according to the researcher, for its control and the development of a vaccine.

Viral vector technology

The viral vector technology applied to the Mosaico vaccine is the same as that of Sputnik V, a Russian vaccine against covid-19. The vaccine tested at UFMG also uses adenovirus 26 (Ad26), which is not a vector for any serious disease, to receive parts of HIV. What is expected is that the patient’s immune system is “trained” to recognize and fight the virus.

The studies carried out in the previous phases have revealed that Mosaico is safe and capable of inducing so-called cross-immunity, which is the ability of some lymphocytes (B or T cells) to recognize sequences of a virus and be able to identify them in the future in another infectious agent. Although the first AIDS cases appeared in 1982, there is still no vaccine for the HIV virus.

Those interested in participating in the tests must be between 18 and 60 years old and not undergo any type of prophylaxis either before or after possible exposure to the virus. All costs for visits (14 times in the 30-month interval) will be reimbursed to participants.

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