First a COVID-19 Vaccine, Now an HIV Vaccine...

Written by Alex Reid
Posted January 18, 2021

Hi y’all!

Alex Reid here with your Monday roundup.

“COVID Brain.”

That’s a new term I learned this weekend. A close family friend is in the process of recovering from COVID-19 after being hospitalized for a week.

I’m almost convinced there’s nothing this woman can’t conquer. She’s conquered COVID, cancer (twice), and so much more…

During our videochat this weekend, she updated me on the aftermath. She had to relearn how to support herself to walk because her body was so weak.

She also mentioned having lapses in memory. Slowly, her memory is coming back to her. 

Hence, COVID brain.

With all of the recent COVID chatter…

Most eyes are on the COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna. But the biggest fascination isn’t whether the vaccines will end the pandemic.

The biggest focus is on what mRNA (the technology used to create the vaccines) can be used for in the future. 

Moderna recently announced a program to develop a series of other vaccines, including one for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Moderna’s CEO Stéphane Bancel:

Even as we have shown that our mRNA-based vaccine can prevent COVID-19, this has encouraged us to pursue more-ambitious development programs within our prophylactic vaccines modality. Today we are announcing three new vaccine programs addressing seasonal flu, HIV and the Nipah virus, some of which have eluded traditional vaccine efforts, and all of which we believe can be addressed with our mRNA technology. Beyond vaccines, we are extending our mRNA development work to a total of 24 programs across five therapeutic areas.

Researchers have sought after an HIV vaccine since 1987 with no success. But many suspect the mRNA technology may pave the way to a successful HIV vaccine.

Meet mRNA-1644 and mRNA-1574.

mRNA-1644 is a novel approach to the HIV vaccine, which would elicit broadly Neutralizing HIV-1 Antibodies (bNAbs). mRNA-1574 is a second approach that includes multiple native-like trimer antigens. The first approach is in collaboration with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). Meanwhile, the second is with the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Moderna's officials provide more updates:

A Phase 1 study for mRNA-1644 will use iterative human testing to validate the approach and antigens and multiple novel antigens will be used for germline-targeting and immuno-focusing.

A second approach, mRNA-1574, is being evaluated in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and includes multiple native-like trimer antigens.

If a successful HIV vaccine hit the market, millions of lives could be saved. HIV kills 700,000 people each year around the world.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. HIV is a far more complex virus than COVID-19, and researchers don’t expect an HIV vaccine overnight.

However, the company plans to start clinical trials for both mRNA-1644 and mRNA-1574 this year.

Learn more about Moderna’s future vaccine initiatives right here.

To your health,

Alex Reid
President, Longevity Insider HQ