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New HIV Cohort Study Opens In Germany

May 23, 2018

This week MHRP and collaborators at the Institute for HIV Research, University Duisburg-Essen launched a longitudinal cohort study in Germany to evaluate the incidence of HIV subtype B among an at-risk subpopulation and determine the feasibility of conducting an HIV vaccine efficacy trial there in the future. In addition, the study is the largest systematic epidemiological study for sexual transmitted diseases in Germany to understand incidence and prevalence for common and uncommon STIs.

The study, called BRAHMS, is MHRP’s first clinical study in Europe and is part of the Program’s effort to focus on HIV subtype B vaccine development. The prospective observational cohort study seeks to enroll 1000 HIV uninfected men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender and intersex participants at 10 study sites across Germany. Researchers at the study sites will observe volunteers for 12 months, screening them for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

HIV subtype B is the third most common HIV subtype, primarily affecting Europe, Australia and North America. In 2015, more than 150,000 new HIV infections were diagnosed in the European Region, the highest annual number since reporting started in the 1980s, despite improved access to prevention tools including pre-exposure prophylaxis drugs (PrEP).

The study reflects MHRP’s renewed focus on subtype B, which has significant relevance to U.S. Service Members. The Army-led RV144 Thai trial, the first vaccine efficacy study to show modest efficacy in preventing HIV infection, focused on subtype AE, and two currently ongoing HIV vaccine trials are taking place in subtype C prevalent regions in Africa.

”We are excited to partner up with MHRP and that Germany will now be part of the international effort to find an HIV vaccine,” said Protocol Chair, Dr. Hendrik Streeck. “We will get a comprehensive picture on Germany’s HIV and STD epidemic, which will help to determine feasibility for future HIV vaccine efficacy trials.”

The new cohort study is sponsored by MHRP at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and funded under a Cooperative Agreement between USAMRMC and Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine (W81XWH-11-2-0174) with support from the US Army Medical Materiel Development Activity (USAMMDA), Pharmaceutical Systems PMO, HIV Vaccine Program, the Bundesministerium für Gesundheit und Soziales (BMG), and the Division of AIDS (DAIDS), National Institutes of Health (NIH).