What Is HVTN 702?
HVTN 702 is a large efficacy study that is testing a combination of two experimental vaccines against HIV. The study vaccines are called ALVAC-HIV (vCP2438) and Bivalent Subtype C gp120/MF59. The main goals of this study are:
- Are the vaccines safe to give to people?
- Can the vaccines prevent HIV infection?
- Do people’s immune systems respond to the study vaccines?
The vaccines used in this study are not made from live HIV, killed HIV, parts taken from HIV, or HIV-infected human cells. The HIV vaccines being tested are made from synthetic (man-made) copies of HIV pieces. Therefore, the vaccines CANNOT cause HIV infection or AIDS.
These study vaccines are experimental. This means we are still researching them and continuing to learn about how safe they are to use in people and if they will prevent HIV infection.
These vaccines are only used for research. They are not available to the general public or available for sale. These vaccines are supplied by their manufacturers, Sanofi Pasteur and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
Tell Me More About HVTN 702 and Uhambo
Uhambo is a series of studies leading us to a safe and effective HIV vaccine. HVTN 702 is the latest research study in the Uhambo series. Uhambo means journey, and we are on a journey to find a safe and effective vaccine that will protect people from HIV.
Another large study showed in 2009 for the first time that a vaccine could prevent HIV, albeit modestly. That study was called RV144 and was done in Thailand with over 16,000 people. Those results were exciting, and showed the vaccine prevented 31.2% of new HIV infections. This means that the study products used in RV144 study were able to prevent HIV infection in approximately 1 in 3 people that participated in the study. Although this was not good enough to license the vaccines, the study provided scientists the signs and information they needed to develop better vaccines. And that is how we started on this journey, first with smaller studies that were looking at the safety of an experimental vaccine in African people and the body’s immune responses to it, and now HVTN 702.
One of these smaller studies is known as HVTN 100. The ALVAC and Protein vaccines used in HVTN 702 have been given to 210 people in South Africa in a study called HVTN 100. HVTN 100 is a phase 1/2a trial in which researchers want to learn if the ALVAC and Protein vaccines (same vaccines used in HVTN 702) are safe to give to people; if people are able to take the study vaccines without becoming too uncomfortable; and how people’s immune systems respond to ALVAC and Protein study vaccines. Interim results from HVTN 100 have shown that these 2 vaccines are safe to give to people and provided good immune responses. There have been no serious health problems related to these vaccines. However, there is always the possibility of problems that have not been seen yet. That is why one purpose of this study is to test whether the vaccines are safe when given to more people. Each participant’s health will be watched closely throughout the study. HVTN 702 differs from HVTN 100 in that in HVTN 702, researchers are now looking to learn if the ALVAC and Protein vaccines can prevent HIV infection.
Who Is Doing The Study?
The study is being conducted by the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN). The HVTN and all of the participating study clinics work in collaboration with community stakeholders to ensure that this research is acceptable to the local community and respectful of local cultures.