The Oklahoman

J&J ends study of potential HIV drug

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A potential HIV vaccine being developed by Johnson & Johnson did not provide protection against the virus in a mid-stage study, the drugmaker said Tuesday.

J&J plans to end that study, which involved young women in sub-Saharan Africa. But researcher­s will continue a separate, late-stage trial involving a different compositio­n of the vaccine in men and transgende­r people.

The study in sub-Saharan Africa involved about 2,600 women who were deemed to be at high risk of acquiring HIV, which causes AIDS. Participan­ts were randomly selected, and researcher­s found that the vaccine was only 25% effective at preventing HIV.

“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,” J&J Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Paul Stoffels said in a statement.

Study participan­ts will be notified of the results, unblinded and informed whether they were in the study group that received the vaccine or the group that received placebo.

J&J said its other study of the potential vaccine is being conducted in Europe and the Americas, where different strains of HIV are circulatin­g.

J&J also makes one of the three vaccines approved by U.S. regulators for the prevention of COVID-19 and is developing vaccines for sepsis and respirator­y syncytial virus.

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