J&J to discontinue trial after HIV vaccine discovered ineffective

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People pose with syringe with needle in front of displayed Johnson & Johnson logo in this illustration taken, December 11, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

(Reuters) -Johnson & Johnson said on Wednesday it will discontinue the late-stage global trial of an HIV vaccine after it was found ineffective at preventing infections.

The trial involved administering two different types of a shot – that uses a cold-causing virus to deliver genetic code of HIV – spread over four vaccination visits in a year. J&J (NYSE:) used a similar technology for its COVID-19 vaccine.

Shares of J&J were down 1% at $170.57 in morning trade.The HIV vaccine study, which began in 2019, was conducted at over 50 sites and included about 3,900 men who have sex with men and transgender people – groups that are considered vulnerable to the infection.

J&J’s partner, the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), said the shot was being tested only on individuals who did not accept pre-exposure prophylaxis – treatment to prevent infections.While no safety issues were identified with the vaccine regimen, the trial’s failure marks yet another setback in the search for a vaccine against HIV – a virus known to mutate rapidly and find unique ways to evade the immune system.

“Although HIV continues to prove uniquely challenging for development of a vaccine, the HIV research community remains fully committed to doing just that, and each study brings us a step closer to this realization,” said Susan Buchbinder, co-chair of the study from HVTN.

While no HIV vaccine has successfully cleared trial, various drugs are used in high-risk groups and patients.

Meanwhile, various HIV vaccine candidates, including from Moderna (NASDAQ:) Inc, HVTN and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) are currently under trial.

Another HIV vaccine by J&J in 2021 failed a mid-stage study in a population of young women in sub-Saharan Africa.

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