WORLD AIDS DAY 2021: PERSPIRE TO ACQUIRE OUR DESIRE



By Akin Ojumu

Perhaps, you have heard of the "Berlin patient" (i.e. Timothy Ray Brown who died last year), the "London patient" (Alex Castillejo), the "Esperanza patient" (an Argentinian woman), and the "Mississippi baby". These are the few documented cases of people who have been cured of HIV – although the Mississippi baby later on had a resurgence of HIV, sadly. 

In the 40 years since the disease was first detected, great strides have been made in the HIV therapeutics. But till date, no cure has been found that is scalable to all people. Several promising vaccine candidates have failed along the way. So, all we've been able to do so far is extend the lives of people living with HIV so that they can live healthy productive lives. In essence, HIV has pretty much become another chronic disease that people can manage.

COVID or no COVID, researchers in the HIV/AIDS science space are not letting up in their quest for find a permanent cure for HIV/AIDS. Though slowed to a crawl by SARS-CoV-2, the work never at any point grounded to a halt. These men and women who have devoted their lives and careers to ending this 40-year plague fight on.

The following are a few of the HIV vaccine candidates in the pipeline currently being tested in clinical trials around the world and their sponsors. 

Don’t sweat the tongue-twisting mumbo-jumbo names. It’s just to give you an idea.

(1) Ad26.Mos4.HIV, clade C Mosaic gp140 HIV/alum – Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V.

(2) ALVAC-HIV (vCP2438) Bivalent clade C gp120/MF59 –
NIH/NIAID/Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation/South African Medical Research Council/ Sanofi Pasteur/ GlaxoSmithKline

(3) DNA-HIV-PT123-AIDSVAX B/E-DNA-HIV-PT123-MVA CMDR CN54gp140/MPLA-L – Medical Research Council

(4) Ad26.Mos4.HIV clade C gp140/alum – Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V.

(5) HIV DNA-rTV – Beijing China

(6) ALVAC-HIV vCP1521-AIDSVAX B/E – U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command

(7) Tetravalent Ad26.Mos4.HIV Clade C gp140-Mosaic gp140 – Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V.

(8) Ad26.Mos.HIV-MVA Mosaic gp140 protein – Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V./NIAID/MHRP/IAVI/Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

(9) ChAdOx1.HTI MVA.HTI – University of Oxford

(10) VIR-1111 – Vir Biotechnology, Inc

(11) EnvSeq-1 Envs adjuvanted with GLA-SE – NIH/NIAID

(12) p24CE1/2 DNA vaccine p55^gag DNA vaccine/IL-12 DNA adjuvant – NIH/NIAID

(13) Env/Gag DNA vaccine gp120 protein vaccine/GLA-SE adjuvant (PDPHV-201401) – NIH/NIAID

(14) BG505 SOSIP.664 gp140/ASO1B – International AID Vaccine Initiative (IAVI)

(15) Ad4-Env145NFL Ad4-Env150KN VRC-HIVRGP096-00-VP (Trimer 4571) /alum – NIH/NIAID

(16) ConM SOSIP.v7 gp140/MPLA liposomes – Academisch Medisch Centrum – Universiteit van Amsterdam (AMCUvA)

(17) ConM SOSIP-EDC ConM SOSIP-ConS UFO-EDC ConS UFO-Mosaic SOSIPs/MPLA – Imperial College London

(18) Stable CH505TF gp120-Transient CH505TF gp120/GLA-SE – NIH/NIAID

(19) HIV-1 gp41 MPER-656 liposome vaccine/alum – NIH/NIAID

(20) HIV-1 BG505 SOSIP.664 gp140/TLR agonist/alum adjuvants – NIH/NIAID

(21) BG505 SOSIP.GT1.1 gp140 vaccine – International AID Vaccine Initiative (IAVI)

In the famous words of my brother Seyi Odufejo, of the Obafemi Awolowo University and University of Benin days, HIV research scientists around the world continue to “aspire to acquire the desire they admire, but if in the process they perspire, they don't retire, but refire to acquire the desire which they admire".

And that’s to just say, it ain’t over until we say it’s over and we are not going to stop until HIV/AIDS is stopped.

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