The Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, hosted by the International AIDS Society, has expressed deep disappointment that the Phase 2b/3 HIV vaccine study HVTN 702 has been stopped by the trial sponsor, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The decision to halt the trial, conducted by the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, followed the recommendation of the independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board, a release signed by Acting Communications Team Lead, Annabelle McGregor, stated on Monday.
Continuing, the release sated, “The HIV vaccine research field had great hopes for this efficacy trial, which was conducted in South Africa – a country with one of the most severe HIV epidemics in the world.
“HVTN 702 tested a prime-boost regimen similar to the one which had shown modest efficacy in the RV144 trial conducted in Thailand and had been adapted to the type of HIV most common in southern Africa.”
Linda-Gail Bekker, IAS Immediate Past President and Chair of the Enterprise Advisory Group said, “Whilst this is a significant setback for the field, we need to continue the quest for a preventive vaccine.
“The rates of HIV infection, which continue unabated in this region, should spur greater urgency, global attention and investment to the quest.”
In reaction, IAS President, Anton Pozniak, said, “The effort, energy and resources that go into conducting trials of this size and complexity are extraordinary and the commitment of everyone involved is hugely appreciated.
“This level of passion, dedication and involvement will need to continue with renewed vigour as we move forward.
“We hope even more stakeholders will join the search for a preventive HIV vaccine.”