HIV Vaccine and Antibody Efficacy Trials to Date

This infographic provides a comprehensive overview of HIV vaccine and antibody efficacy trials. Over 20 years and 12 trials, only two positive signals have been observed.

Join us at CROI 2024!

Dear Advocate, 
 
The 31st annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) kicks off this weekend, and runs from March 3-6 in Denver, Colorado. CROI is the go-to forum for groundbreaking science in the HIV field, and this years’ program is full of exciting new research.  

At AVAC, we’re tracking data and discussion on long-acting, injectable PrEP; the dapvirine vaginal ring (DVR) in pregnancy; doxycycline as post-exposure prophylaxis (DoxyPEP) to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs); and the latest in HIV cure and control. We’re also very excited for this year’s Martin Delaney Presentation – Unveiling the Power of Uganda’s LGBTIQ Advocacy in Shaping HIV Response and Health Care Access – that will be delivered by Frank Mugisha of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) in Uganda and couldn’t be more timely. Be sure to check out the conference program.  

AVAC and partners have worked to follow and explain the research presented at CROI for many years, making the science more accessible, connecting the findings to community priorities, and ensuring civil society and affected communities are represented within the program, and ultimately the research. For those attending or not, this email shares ways to follow along and join in the discussion and debate. 

 Follow Along 
 Be part of the conversation by following AVAC on X (Twitter) at @hivpxresearch for real-time updates using the conference hashtag #CROI2024, and be sure to sign up and follow our partner, Aidsmap, who will be reporting from the conference. 
 
Community Breakfast Clubs (CROI registration not required 
 Join the CROI Community Liaisons, AVAC, the European AIDS Treatment Group, and partners for daily Community Breakfast Clubs. These virtual webinars feature researchers and advocates discussing some of the most consequential science being presented at CROI. They are open to all, CROI registrants and non-registrants alike.  
 

Monday, 4 March, 7:00am – 8:00am MT (Click here to determine the time in your location.) 

Spotlight on Social and Behavioural Science at CROI 2024 

Tuesday, 5 March, 7:00am – 8:00am MT (Click here to determine the time in your location.) 

Living with HIV for a Lifetime – It’s Complicated 

Wednesday, 6 March, 7:00am – 8:00am MT (Click here to determine the time in your location.) 

Research Roundup: Scientists and Advocates Offer Fresh Perspectives and Seasoned Analyses of CROI 2024 Research 

Looking forward to seeing you at the daily Breakfast Club sessions and to working together to unpack the research and be sure it is applied! 

 
Best, 
AVAC 

Webinars to Look Out for in February!

2024 is off and running and a slew of webinars are on the calendar. This selection of topics is both broad and deep, providing updates on the pipeline from cure to vaccines, insights on critical advocacy, a conversation with the new director of NIAID, and opportunities for you to engage. Scroll down for what’s coming up and recordings of webinars from December and January that you may have missed.  

Coming up!

AVAC in Conversation with NIAID’s Jeanne Marrazzo

February 27, 11:30 am – 12:00 pm EST 

Join AVAC in conversation with the new Director of NIAID, Jeanne Marrazzo. Register here.

The New Public Health Order: How is Africa preparing for pandemics?

February 29, 9:00-10:30 am EST 

WACI Health and The Choice Agenda invite you to join us for a webinar introducing key initiatives of the Africa CDC and the African Union. It will illuminate roles for civil society and community engagement. Register here.

The Adolescent Medicine Trials Network (ATN): Research addressing HIV health inequities among US adolescents and young adults

Join The Choice Agenda for an overview of the newest cycle of the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network! This webinar includes highlights of: ATN 165: Linking Youth to PrEP Services, which tests an innovative mobile delivery and mHealth intervention for PrEP adherence and persistence among sexual minority men; ATN 167: Legal, Economic, and Affirming Peer Support (LEAP) for transgender and gender diverse youth; and how the network prioritizes and amplifies the voices of youth directly impacted by the ATN’s pivotal research. Register here.

Advocacy Navigator Program Info Session

February 13, 10:00-11:00 am EST

This webinar is intended for anyone interested in applying to participate in AVAC’s Advocacy Navigator program. The session will provide an overview of the program, expectations, eligibility, and application process, followed by Q&A with the AVAC team. 

In case you missed it!

Reporting the African Science Story: Decoding scientific research to support public health in Africa

Through the Media Science Café Program, AVAC partners with health media associations in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe to bring journalists together with researchers, implementers, civil society, policy makers, regulators and policy makers to build relationships that will foster accurate reporting of HIV, COVID and other science or health stories in those countries. Learn about the model! Recording, slides and resources.

PrEPVacc: An in-depth look at the trial, and what’s next

This webinar reviewed key aspects of PrEPVacc, including its innovative study design, implementation, integrated social science, and data analysis plans. An engaging conversation about what we’ve learned from PrEPVacc, what we can still learn, and what this may mean for the HIV prevention field. Recording, slides and resources.

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month Webinar Series

Check out our 4-part webinar series on cervical cancer, which featured a deep dive on: what cervical cancer is, who is impacted, and prevention and treatment options; advocacy strategies to bring more attention to cervical cancer and its impact on communities; options for screening and treating cervical cancer along with ongoing research; and the impact of cervical cancer on key populations and those vulnerable to HIV infections. Recording, slides and resources.

HIV Cure and the Environment: How location informs cure research

This webinar reviewed core concepts discussed in the previous webinar, Let’s Talk About HIV Cure Research: An Introduction to the science under investigation, and introduced how the environment may impact cure strategies. Recording, slides and resources.

Learn more about the townhall discussion on Black Gay Men and HIV in the US featuring influential figures in the Black Gay community, including Ace Robinson, Daniel D. Driffin, and Kenyon Farrow by checking out highlights on AVAC’s Twitter page and watch the full recording

Thanks for checking out these conversations. We hope you will join us in these rich discussions and watch this space for future webinars!  

Avac Event

AVAC in Conversation with NIAID’s Jeanne Marrazzo

The new director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo joined AVAC Executive Director in conversation.

Upcoming Webinars and Workshops You Won’t Want to Miss!

Happy New Year! We hope you had good holidays and are ready for all that we need to do in 2024. To get started, kick-off the new year with an exciting lineup of webinars and workshops that will set a foundation for our collective advocacy in the year ahead. Read on for details! 

PrEPVacc: An in-depth look at the trial, and what’s next

January 11, 9:30-11:00 am EST 

Join the PrEPVacc team and AVAC to review the PrEPVacc trial, which is testing two different vaccine candidates and two daily oral PrEP regimens. Join us to learn about PrEPVacc’s innovative study design and implementation, how the trial integrated social and behavioral science, details on the latest decision to discontinue vaccinations, and what the results mean to the field. Register here

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and AVAC is sponsoring a series of webinars to help advocates who care about sexual and reproductive health and rights to understand who is impacted by cervical cancer, what it means for key populations, its intersection with HIV, and the status of treatment and prevention. Register here for topics that interest you most or the full series.   

Cervical Cancer: What, where, and prevention and treatment options 

January 11 8:00-9:00 am EST 

Register here 

Advocacy and Cervical Cancer: Voices that are creating change 

January 18, 8:00-9:00 am EST  

Register here 

Screening and Treating Cervical Cancer 

January 25, 8:00-9:00 am EST  

Register here 

Cervical Cancer Among Key Populations 

February 1, 8:00-9:00 am EST  

Register here 

Reporting the African Science Story: Decoding scientific research to support public health in Africa 

January 23, 9:30-11:00 am EST 

The Media Science Cafés bring together journalists, researchers, implementers, civil society, policy makers, and regulators to build relationships that will foster accurate reporting of HIV, COVID and other science or health stories in those countries. Learn more about this model, lessons learned and why relationships across these fields are a must for advancing HIV prevention and global health.  

Register here

African Workshop on HIV & Women 2024 

February 22-23, 8:30 am-4:30 pm EAT 

This regional workshop sponsored by the Academic Medical Education platform of Virology Education is for healthcare providers, researchers, government, industry, and community representatives to increase their knowledge of issues related to HIV and women living in Africa. Early-career investigators will also have opportunities to present their research and meet with experts. Organizers will use this hybrid workshop as a launch for ongoing participant engagement, identifying partnerships, projects and continuing collaboration.   

Regular fee deadline, February 8. 

Register here

Avac Event

PrEPVacc: An in-depth look at the trial, and what’s next

During this webinar, the PrEPVacc team and AVAC reviewed the status of the PrEPVacc trial. PrEPVacc, a 3-in-1 trial testing two different vaccine candidates (plus placebo arm) and two daily oral PrEP regimens, recently discontinued vaccinations in the trial due to an independent data review board’s conclusion that the vaccines were having no effect in preventing HIV infection. On this call, we will review key aspects of PrEPVacc, including its innovative study design, implementation, integrated social science, and data analysis plans. Speakers engaged in conversation about what we’ve learned from PrEPVacc, what we can still learn, and what this may mean for the HIV prevention field.

  • PrEPVacc Trial Design: Sheena McCormack, PrEPVacc Project Lead, MRC Clinical Trials Unit, University College London, UK
  • Trial Implementation and Baseline Data: Eugene Ruzagira, PrEPVacc Trial Director, MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit
  • Integrated Social Science: Rachel Kawuma, PrEPVacc Social Scientist, MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit
  • Analysis Plan: Sheila Kansiime, PrEPVacc Statistician, MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit

Recording / Sheena McCormack Slides / Eugene Ruzagira Slides / Rachel Kawuma Slides / Sheila Kansiime Slides

Px Pulse: A season of listening

As we look ahead to 2024 and the vital work AVAC and partners will be carrying forward, the conversations from 2023 offer guidance and insights. Px Pulse, AVAC’s podcast on critical issues facing HIV prevention research, hosted several not-be-missed conversations in 2023 that will reverberate into the year ahead.  

From a stalled PEPFAR reauthorization to LGBTQIA+ voices fighting persecution in Uganda; from efforts to bring equity to a new global architecture for pandemic readiness to advances in HIV vaccine science and advocacy to include pregnant people in research—we hope that all of these conversations can inform our advocacy in 2024. Click on the episode for both recordings and resources.

PEPFAR at 20: Keeping the promise (23:16)

Considered one of the greatest US foreign policy and global development achievements of the century, the program has saved upwards of 25 million lives since it launched in 2003. But PEPFAR is marking its 20th anniversary while fighting for its future. LISTEN HERE.

LGBTQIA+ Advocacy in Uganda: Facing down fear and fighting for justice (24:19)

In March 2023, the Ugandan Parliament moved forward broad-reaching legislation to further criminalize LGBTQIA+ people. This podcast features Ugandan advocates and AVAC partners discussing the specifics of how these attacks have gained momentum and their ties to US-based religious extremists. The advocates discuss what needs to happen next. LISTEN HERE.

The Shape of Pandemic Preparedness is Being Decided. Now is the Time for Collective Action (15:14)

Health leaders around the world are in the midst of creating a new architecture to deal with pandemics. Chris Collins, the CEO and President at Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, talks about what’s at stake, which policymakers get it already, why this year matters so much, and what advocates can do about it. LISTEN HERE.

PPPR Advocacy 101: Find out what it means to you (19:05)

Over the coming months, global leaders will make key decisions about several initiatives to prepare for the next pandemic. This podcast explores what they commit to, how much they will spend and how well these plans safeguard equity. LISTEN HERE.

Inclusion of Pregnant and Lactating People in HIV Research: What you need to know (34:28)

AVAC’s Manju Chatani-Gada takes us through conversations with a trial participant who became pregnant, researchers, policymakers and donors to understand why this population gets excluded, the impact it has and what to do about it. LISTEN HERE.

Evolving Strategies for an HIV Vaccine: One researcher explains where the field is going and why? (21:23)

Evolving Strategies for an HIV Vaccine: One researcher explains where the field is going and why? Dr. Katy Stephenson explores the implications of recent trial results, the big questions driving next generation vaccine development, and new strategies underway in early phase research. LISTEN HERE.

Happy listening—and let us know what topics you want to hear more about in 2024! 

The Search for an HIV Vaccine Must Continue

Field Will Learn for Halted PrEPVacc Arm

By Jeanne Baron

Today the PrEPVacc trial team announced at a special session at the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) in Harare, Zimbabwe, that they were stopping vaccinations in the study following a review by an independent data safety committee that determined there was little chance the vaccines being tested could stop HIV acquisition. The oral PrEP arms of the study will continue. 

PrEPVacc was testing two different vaccine strategies against a placebo: one regimen combining a DNA vaccine with a protein-based vaccine (AIDSVAX), and another regimen combining DNA, MVA and a protein-based vaccine (CN54gp140). 

“We always hope for a positive outcome in HIV prevention trials, and this news is disappointing,” said Mitchell Warren, AVAC executive director. “We look forward to seeing the full PrEPVacc data in 2024 and hope it will add to the body of evidence that is helping scientists understand how to develop better vaccine candidates that will one day protect against HIV.”  

“The PrEPVacc outcome underscores yet again that the science of HIV vaccine development is extremely challenging,” he added. “Now is not the time to step back from vaccine research. There are several promising strategies in early-stage research that must continue, along with research for other HIV prevention options. We will not end HIV without ensuring that everyone who is vulnerable to HIV infection has a choice of effective and desirable prevention options.”  

Importantly, PrEPVacc’s PrEP arms will continue. The study is testing two different formulations of daily oral PrEP, looking to see if a new formulation – F/TAF (also known as Descovy) – is at least as good in the trial population at protecting against HIV acquisition as F/TDF (also known as Truvada and the most widely used version of PrEP). The trial will provide the first data for F/TAF among cisgender women (who make up 87% of the just over 1,500 PrEPVacc trial participants). F/TAF is approved for use in the US and UK, but not for those individuals who have receptive vaginal sex, since previous trials regrettably did not enroll cisgender women. 

The PrEPVacc study is scheduled to conclude in 2024 and data from all arms of the study are expected to be reported in the last half of 2024. 

“The PrEP arms of PrEPVacc will provide important insights into the potential of expanding access of F/TAF for PrEP to women in East and Southern Africa who need additional options to protect themselves from HIV. Equitable access to new interventions should be a goal of every research program,” said Stacey Hannah, AVAC’s director of Research Engagement. 

“PrEPVacc is a complex, innovative trial design, and, while the vaccine result today is disappointing, the trial team has worked from the outset to implement the Good Participatory Practice (GPP) Guidelines. The team’s hard work on the front-end to apply GPP to this trial is paying off especially now in the ability to deliver complex, disappointing results to trial participants, advocates, policymakers and other key supporters of PrEPVacc and of HIV prevention broadly.” 

Press Release

The Search for an HIV Vaccine Must Continue

Field Will Learn for Halted PrEPVacc Arm

New York, 6 December 2023 – Today the PrEPVacc trial team announced at a special session at the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) in Harare, Zimbabwe, that they were stopping vaccinations in the study following a review by an independent data safety committee that determined there was little chance the vaccines being tested could stop HIV acquisition. The oral PrEP arms of the study will continue. 

PrEPVacc was testing two different vaccine strategies against a placebo: one regimen combining a DNA vaccine with a protein-based vaccine (AIDSVAX), and another regimen combining DNA, MVA and a protein-based vaccine (CN54gp140). 

“We always hope for a positive outcome in HIV prevention trials, and this news is disappointing,” said Mitchell Warren, AVAC executive director. “We look forward to seeing the full PrEPVacc data in 2024 and hope it will add to the body of evidence that is helping scientists understand how to develop better vaccine candidates that will one day protect against HIV.”  

“The PrEPVacc outcome underscores yet again that the science of HIV vaccine development is extremely challenging,” he added. “Now is not the time to step back from vaccine research. There are several promising strategies in early-stage research that must continue, along with research for other HIV prevention options. We will not end HIV without ensuring that everyone who is vulnerable to HIV infection has a choice of effective and desirable prevention options.”  

Importantly, PrEPVacc’s PrEP arms will continue. The study is testing two different formulations of daily oral PrEP, looking to see if a new formulation – F/TAF (also known as Descovy) – is at least as good in the trial population at protecting against HIV acquisition as F/TDF (also known as Truvada and the most widely used version of PrEP). The trial will provide the first data for F/TAF among cisgender women (who make up 87% of the just over 1,500 PrEPVacc trial participants). F/TAF is approved for use in the US and UK, but not for those individuals who have receptive vaginal sex, since previous trials regrettably did not enroll cisgender women. 

The PrEPVacc study is scheduled to conclude in 2024 and data from all arms of the study are expected to be reported in the last half of 2024. 

“The PrEP arms of PrEPVacc will provide important insights into the potential of expanding access of F/TAF for PrEP to women in East and Southern Africa who need additional options to protect themselves from HIV. Equitable access to new interventions should be a goal of every research program,” said Stacey Hannah, AVAC’s director of Research Engagement. 

“PrEPVacc is a complex, innovative trial design, and, while the vaccine result today is disappointing, the trial team has worked from the outset to implement the Good Participatory Practice (GPP) Guidelines. The team’s hard work on the front-end to apply GPP to this trial is paying off especially now in the ability to deliver complex, disappointing results to trial participants, advocates, policymakers and other key supporters of PrEPVacc and of HIV prevention broadly.” 

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About AVAC  

AVAC is an international non-profit organization that provides an independent voice and leverages global partnerships to accelerate ethical development and equitable delivery of effective HIV prevention options, as part of a comprehensive and integrated pathway to global health equity. Follow AVAC on Twitter @HIVpxresearch; find more at www.avac.org and www.prepwatch.org.

Introducing From the Lab to the Jab: A new series of advocates’ guides

AVAC is excited to launch From the Lab to the Jab, a new series of advocates’ guides that highlight key advocacy issues to ensure equitable access to safe, effective, and affordable vaccines.

Co-created as part of our USAID-supported Coalition to Accelerate and Support Prevention Research (CASPR), with additional support from the New Venture Fund, From the Lab to the Jab issue briefs provide a roadmap for advocacy to advance the development and delivery of essential vaccines for HIV, COVID-19, tuberculosis, and other global public health threats, and approaches to ensure equitable access to these life-saving vaccines.

Go to avac.org/FromLabToJab to learn about next generation vaccine research and development; the basics of mRNA technology; initiatives that support local manufacturing; and understanding and overcoming barriers that undermine equitable access to vaccines. Each brief also highlights the advocacy needed to keep these efforts on track and in line with what communities need and want. 

Stay tuned for an invitation to join the From the Lab to the Jab Webinar in January 2024, and be part of the conversation that will use these briefs to strengthen advocacy and create a roadmap to achieve key transformational priorities in global health.