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The Modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) is a modified smallpox viral vector that holds many advantages as a vehicle for delivery of HIV antigens. MVA can accommodate multiple foreign genes in the same or varying sites in the genome of a single virus and can be administered through a variety of routes. Most importantly, MVA and recombinant MVA (rMVA) have excellent safety records in immune-compromised mice and monkeys as well as in humans.
The original MVA vaccines were developed at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) in collaboration with the Laboratory of Viral Diseases (LVD), National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health. Later versions with mosaic inserts were developed in collaboration with the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
In 2015 we began a new HIV vaccine study (A004) in Uganda and Thailand. A004 is a phase I/IIa study of an HIV candidate vaccine Ad26 prime with MVA and protein boost that is co-funded and sponsored by Janssen, a division of J&J, in collaboration with the Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard University, and MHRP.
Early studies on the Ad26/MVA vaccine combination published in Feb 2012 in the journal Nature showed the Ad26 and MVA heterologous prime boost vaccine regimen provided partial protection against infection by Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) in rhesus monkeys. In addition, in the animals that became infected, the vaccine combination also reduced the amount of virus in the blood.
MHRP will also test this vaccine regimen as a therapeutic vaccine with mosaic inserts in HIV-1 infected adults who initiated antiretroviral therapy treatment during acute HIV infection (volunteers from RV254 study).
TaMoVac (DNA prime/MVA boost)
This Phase II study is testing a DNA/MVA prime boost regimen. The prime is a DNA vaccine developed by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. MHRP provided the virus vector vaccine, Modified Vaccinia Ankara-Chiang Mai Double Recombinant (MVA-CMDR) for the vaccine boost. MHRP is also assisting TaMoVac sites in Maputo, Mozambique and Mbeya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
RV262 (DNA prime/MVA boost)
MHRP conducted a Phase I study, called RV262, in East Africa to evaluate a combination DNA prime/MVA vector boost vaccine regimen that was developed to protect against diverse subtypes of HIV. The prime was a plasmid DNA vaccine, PENNVAX™-G, developed at University of Pennsylvania and licensed by Inovio. The boost was MVA-CMDR. Together, the vaccines are designed to deliver a diverse mixture of antigens for HIV subtypes A, C, D and E.