HVTN 705 Vaccine Trial Ends—Join Sept 9 webinar to discuss next steps for field

Today Johnson & Johnson and partners announced that the Imbokodo study, a large-scale HIV vaccine proof-of-concept trial also known as HVTN 705/HPX2008, did not significantly reduce the overall risk of HIV acquisition among over 2,600 women in five sub-Saharan African countries. The Adenovirus26-based mosaic vaccine regimen was shown to be safe, but it did not meet pre-defined criteria for efficacy to warrant moving forward for longer follow-up. A companion study, the Phase III Mosaico trial, will continue.

Read AVAC’s full statement about the results and what needs to happen next.

Register for a global webinar, scheduled for September 9 at 10am ET to discuss this development and the implications for the HIV vaccine field.

We hope you will bring your questions and your passion. HIV continues to be a global threat. The field can and must learn from these trials and from the success of the COVID-19 vaccine enterprise, to explore new HIV vaccine strategies and bring a lasting end to the epidemic.

GPP Implementers Welcome! Now Accepting Applications for Global Online Course

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance and complexities of advancing critically needed research as part of an international response to public health emergencies. Good Participatory Practice (GPP) is essential to this research agenda. GPP is a framework to promote meaningful and sustainable relationships throughout the lifecycle of clinical research.

AVAC is offering a 10-week online course—running from September 6 to November 19—to provide community engagement coordinators or managers, advocates working with communities, and research implementers with a foundational knowledge of the Good Participatory Practice (GPP) Guidelines, a deeper understanding of how to build sustainable relationships with community and broader stakeholders. New to this offering, one of the modules focuses on the value of stakeholder engagement in clinical trials in the context of an emerging epidemic or pandemic, such as COVID-19 or Ebola.

The course draws from lessons learned from various infectious disease areas, the rollout of new interventions, and COVID-19 research to date. Insights from these efforts will be used to foster participants’ capacity to develop quick and responsive stakeholder engagement in research and beyond.

Participants will benefit from a combination of interactive online modules, video webinars, written assignments, discussion forums, and a suite of specially curated resources. Learners will customize the course topics and resources that meet their needs. Global GPP experts will discuss high-impact models of engagement and help synthesize theory into easy-to-understand actionable steps. Participants will spend 2-4 hours per week on the course, culminating in a GPP action plan that aligns with their specific work and role in the field.

Join the hundreds of participants—from more than 20 countries since 2014—who have participated in the GPP online course!

Applications are due by August 31st and notifications will be made in September.

Apply to participate in the course today!

As always, please reach out with any questions.

See what others are saying about the GPP Online Course:

“Overall GPP training is an eye opening and very fruitful course; I can advise everyone working as community outreach personnel, recruiter or educator at the research center to attend this course.”
– Erica Sanga, community engagement implementer,
Mbeya Medical Research Council

“The GPP course was the best capacity development gift. It has enhanced my skills in community engagement to build a healthier nation as an advocate of HIV prevention methods in South Africa.”
– Neetha Morar, engagement manager,
South African Medical Research Council

New Resources on AVAC.org

Here’s a roundup of new resources on AVAC.org and PrEPwatch.org!

Vaccine Equity: More must be done now!

  • More than 175 leading scientists, civil society leaders and organizations, including AVAC, issued a letter to the White House on August 10th demanding bold and immediate new steps to scale up mRNA vaccine manufacturing around the world.
  • The Washington Post also reported on this effort to push the Biden Administration to meet key demands, including a commitment to establish the capacity to manufacture 8 billion doses a year of mRNA vaccines before 2022.

CAB-LA and Implementation Science: New options must be paired with smart rollout

Protecting Global Gains: Resilient health systems look at the whole picture

The latest installment of stories of adaptation among health systems during COVID is up, Flexible programming gives young women in Rwanda the tools they need to get through COVID-19. The story showcases one Rwanda program under PEPFAR’s DREAMS program where the vocational training in tailoring, offered alongside traditional healthcare, gave young women both skills that were needed during the pandemic and critical social support in the midst of lockdown.

The Ethics of Trial Design: Where PrEP fits in for next-generation prevention trials and more

AVAC is taking a long look at two new guidance documents and their implications for HIV prevention trials: The HPTN’s Ethics Guidance for Research and from UNAIDS/WHO Ethical Considerations in HIV prevention trials.

  • Jeanne Baron’s blog, Ethical Guidance in Focus, compares the two, including highlights of what’s new from previous guidance documents and a table summarizing the implications.
  • AVAC’s August 5th webinar, New Ethical Guidelines for HIV prevention trials in people: What’s changed and Why Does it Matter?, takes another step in explaining these updated essential documents provide context for their use. Hear advocates and bioethicists discuss the role of PrEP, community engagement, equity and more in future trial design.
  • This factsheet outlines different trial designs under discussion, provides links to background material, and offers details on three trials being designed to test next-generation PrEP: monthly oral PrEP with islatravir from Merck; a new form of daily oral PrEP with F/TAF from Gilead; and six-monthly injectable PrEP with lenacapavir from Gilead.

From IAS 2021

If you are catching up on the 11th annual IAS Conference on HIV Science, AVAC has the resources you need.

  • IAS 2021: Our Take and Updates rounds up the latest on the prevention pipeline, offers conference highlights on the intersection of COVID-19 and HIV, dives into new findings on PrEP and resistance, looks at how differentiated service delivery (DSD) has advanced and more.
  • Research Literacy Zone Roundup offers links to sessions where researchers and advocates discuss critical questions for the field, including rollout of the Dapivirine Vaginal Ring, the status of vaccine and cure research, new approaches to address the social determinants of health, vaccine hesitancy and more.

The State of the Field for Rectal Microbicides

AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) and AVAC teamed up to host a webinar, Butt Stuff – All Gender HIV Prevention for Backdoor Action.

The State of the Field for Multi-Purpose Technology

Next up in the AFC and AVAC webinar series, Can Fantasies Become Realities? The Quest for Multi-purpose Prevention Products, is on Wednesday, October 13 10am–12pm EDT. Researcher Dr. Sharon Hillier and others will discuss the need for products that not only prevent HIV but are contraceptive as well, or prevent other STIs—or all the above. This webinar will also feature performers and a live DJ. Register today!

Protecting Global Gains: DREAMS helps young women in Rwanda through COVID-19

The latest entry in the Protecting Global Gains series, Flexible programming gives young women in Rwanda the tools they need to get through COVID-19, describes how PEPFAR’s DREAMS partnership has sustained—and adapted—critical lifelines for adolescent girls and young women throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

For nearly six years, the public-private partnership led by PEPFAR, DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe) has supported interventions to address the structural factors that place young women in Rwanda, and elsewhere, at risk for HIV, such as gender-based violence, exclusion from economic opportunities, and a lack of access to secondary school, alongside health programming. Throughout COVID-19, DREAMS Rwanda helped participants respond to the evolving economic landscape—such as the increased demand for face masks—by providing equipment and start-up materials, as well as mentorship support.

Because DREAMS was set up to provide comprehensive support using multiple channels, the programs were able to adapt creatively to the lockdowns and social distancing requirements of COVID-19. Some of these adaptations, especially the use of digital platforms to keep in touch with participants, will have value well beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, the DREAMS model—where mentors help participants learn self-confidence and the skills to care for and advocate for themselves—has proven invaluable as COVID-19 has further stressed social safety nets and increased existing vulnerabilities. The program’s success highlights the importance of adaptive and client-centered services that are responsive to the unique needs of marginalized populations.

Advocates can help support young women like Violette, featured in this profile, by asking the US Congress to support the White House request to double the annual US investment in DREAMS. Visit www.protectingglobalgains.org to learn more about how to take action and follow Protecting Global Gains on social media at @hivpxresearch, @theglobalfight, @Amref_Worldwide and #ProtectingGlobalGains, and consider amplifying these stories on your own social media.