New Brunswick-based Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceutical Cos. unit has teamed with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and National Institutes of Health to conduct an efficacy study on Janssen’s mosaic HIV-1 global vaccine to prevent HIV.
The study is called Imbokodo and will help determine whether the Janssen vaccine regimen is safe and able to reduce the incidence of HIV infection among 2,600 women in southern African countries. Nearly 2 million people become infected with HIV annually, according to Janssen, and women and girls account for nearly 60 percent of people living with HIV in eastern and southern Africa.
Imbokodo is the second HIV vaccine study Janssen is conducting on the continent. Its other is for HVTN 702 and is currently underway in South Africa.
Historically, the search for an HIV vaccine has been challenging due to the unique properties of the virus, including its ability to mutate rapidly and its global genetic diversity with multiple strains and subtypes prevalent in different parts of the world, according to a J&J release.
“Developing a vaccine against HIV is a top priority and our best hope for a world without AIDS. Finding an effective HIV vaccine to protect people at risk has been a major scientific challenge, but today there is new optimism that we can get there,” said Dr. Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer, Johnson & Johnson, in a statement. “That’s why we’re joining forces with the world’s leading HIV researchers and global health advocates to help advance our experimental vaccine. Working together, our ultimate goal is to support efforts to make HIV history.”