The biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences continues its commitment to research in our country, this time, developing a project to achieve the cure of HIV. It will count with the collaboration of AELIX Therapeutics, a clinical phase biotechnology company specialized in the discovery and development of immunotherapies against the infection of this virus.
Both firms will jointly evaluate their own research products in a strategic clinical study aimed at achieving a functional cure against HIV infection.
The study, which will be called AELIX-003, will be applied to 90 participants who have initiated antiretroviral therapy early after becoming infected with HIV.
The HTI vaccine and the vesatolimod
The beginning of AELIX-003 is scheduled for the beginning of 2019, and it will investigate the safety, tolerability, immunogenicity and efficacy of a regimen composed of the T cell vaccine HTI (of AELIX) and vesatolimod, a potent and selective agonist of the receptor TLR-7 (from Gilead) that remains in the clinical research phase.
In the project, vesatolimod will be administered orally to directly activate plasmocytoid dendritic cells. It is expected that this measure will activate the expression of HIV in the body and increase the immune response induced by the vaccine, thus leading to the elimination of cells infected by the virus.
The HTI vaccine is aimed at refocusing the immune response to especially vulnerable sites in HIV, including those viruses activated from reservoirs.
The HTI immunogen contains HIV-specific antigenic regions toward which there is a T-cell immune response enriched in those individuals who have “controlling phenotypes,” meaning that they can control HIV to a large extent without taking antiretroviral drugs.
After the application of the treatment
Participants will continue to receive antiretroviral therapy at the beginning of the study, and will have their HIV viral loads controlled under the detection limits.
After exposure to the vaccine and vesatolimod, all participants, under careful monitoring, will temporarily stop their antiretroviral medications to determine if the intervention is effective in keeping their HIV levels under control.
In Distefar we are committed to this project whose objective is to achieve a functional cure against HIV infection.