Johnson & Johnson said yesterday its experimental vaccine failed to provide enough protection against HIV in sub-Saharan Africa to young women who are at high risk of being infected.
The mid-stage trial failure highlights the challenges of vaccine development, especially for HIV or human immunodeficiency virus, which has no approved vaccines.
“HIV is a unique and complex virus that has long posed unprecedented challenges for vaccine development because of its ability to attack, hijack and evade the human immune system,” Paul Stoffels, Chief Scientific Officer, J&J, said in a statement.
The study testing the vaccine included the participation of 2,600 women across five Southern African countries, where women and girls accounted for over 60 per cent of all new HIV infections last year.
The trial of the vaccine, which is based on the adenovirus design which J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine also uses, was supported by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The study will not continue, based on the data, J&J said. Participants in the study will be informed about the results and told whether they received a placebo or the vaccine.