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Catalan researchers present an HIV vaccine prototype that could be tested in humans in 2014

At the HIV Vaccine World Congress, which is taking place in Barcelona between the 7th and 10th October, Catalan researchers presented a vaccine prototype that has proven to be effective in clinical studies conducted with mice and monkeys. The vaccine stimulates the creation of antibodies and attacks infected cells. The prototype has been created by the Catalan programme to develop a vaccine against HIV, HIVACAT. According to the programme’s Scientific Director, Christian Brander, the vaccine could eventually also be used as a therapeutic treatment.


08 October 2013 09:19 PM



Barcelona (ACN ).- Researchers from the Catalan program to develop a vaccine against HIV, HIVACAT, presented on Tuesday in Barcelona a vaccine prototype that works on tested mice and monkeys. As explained by HIVACAT Scientific Director, Christian Brander , the vaccine’s results in animals are “promising , strong and broad”. For this reason the research team hopes to test the vaccine’s safety Phase 1 in humans in 2014. The prototype stimulates the immune response, creating antibodies, and is therefore able to eliminate infected cells. This could eventually be used as a therapeutic vaccine, according to Brander. The presentation took place within the HIV Vaccine World Congress, which is taking place in Barcelona between the 7th and 10th October.

During the second day of the congress, the Catalan researchers explained that a vaccine against AIDS would provide the tool to control HIV spread. The researchers from HIVACAT also think that a vaccine should be developed to stop HIV and “its devastating effects on the social structure of the population”. However, they consider that a therapeutic vaccine would be the key to helping more than the 35 million people who are already infected. This vaccine should reverse the disease and its chronic effects, and thus in the long term also allow patients to quit antiretroviral therapy.

In the last 25 years more than 40 vaccine candidates have been studied. Only three have made \u200B\u200Bit through the IIB - III clinical study stages. Two of these vaccine candidates ended up being discarded because they proved to be ineffective. The other finally showed a very moderate efficacy against new infections.

Researchers from the Catalan programme HIVACAT presented one of the most powerful vaccine prototypes so far. The vaccine candidate has already been tested on mice and monkeys. According to Brander results in chimpanzees are “promising, strong and broad”. For this reason, the research team hopes to test it in a phase I clinical study in humans in 2014. HIVACAT aims initially to run tests as a therapeutic vaccine, alone or in combination with other therapies.

Christian Brander, who is also one of the study leaders, explained that this prototype has two versions, one aimed at stimulating the immune response by antibodies and the other based on the stimulation of white cells in the blood called T cells. The vaccine has two components, explained Brander: the active Immunogen, responsible for stimulating the immune system, and a vector, which acts as a vehicle to transport Immunogen in human cells. This has been designed to induce response of T cells.

The vaccine prototype is based on a study with more than 1,000 people infected from three different continents. The study analyzed people who carried the virus but did not develop the disease because they had a better immune system response. The research discovered which portion of HIV causes those patients to present an immune response. Therefore this could be used as a vaccine for HIV. This new vaccine could cure those already infected because it would strengthen their immune system in the same way as happened in the people in the study.


  • Christian Brander, Scientific Director of HIVACAT, presenting the vaccine prototype (by L. Roma)

  • Christian Brander, Scientific Director of HIVACAT, presenting the vaccine prototype (by L. Roma)