With 37 million people living with HIV worldwide, and over 2 million new infections diagnosed each year, an effective vaccine is regarded as the most potent public health strategy for addressing the pandemic. Despite the many advances in the understanding, treatment and prevention of HIV made over the past 30 years, the development of broadly-effective HIV vaccine has remained unachievable. The European HIV Alliance (EHVA) is a five year project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme designed to foster the development of an effective vaccine.
The EHVA encompasses 39 partners, each with the expertise to promote a comprehensive approach to the development of an effective HIV vaccine. The international alliance, which includes academic and industrial research partners from all over Europe, as well as sub-Saharan Africa and North America, will work to discover and progress novel vaccine candidates through the clinic.
While encompassing the latest advances in clinical trials and preclinical vaccine development, the EHVA’s multidisciplinary research platforms encompass all aspects of vaccine development from early-stage discovery to clinical trials. The Discovery Platform will work to disclose promising vaccine candidates based on the induction of T-cell and antibody responses (ie, neutralizing antibody and non-neutralizing antibody). Discovery is one of four complementary research platforms.
The Immune-Profiling Platform will advance assays to predict the immunogenicity of potential vaccine candidates. The ability to generate a profile of a potential vaccine candidate, using models that emulate the immune system’s response, will assist with benchmarking novel and existing vaccine candidates. State-of-the-art statistical tools and algorithms for vaccine selection are at the core of the Data Management/Integration and Down-Selection Platform.
And the Clinical Trial Platform includes pharmaceutical industry expertise for late stage development, a network of top European clinical centers for conducting large cohort studies, as well as relationships with leading scientists based in Africa. Future testing of EHVA vaccine in Sub-Saharan Africa is a research priority because it is the area of the world with the greatest number of people infected with HIV.