HHS awards more than $1 billion to advance next-gen COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded $1.4 billion to support vaccine clinical trials to test new, more effective and longer-lasting COVID-19 vaccines. In all, Project NextGen is a $5 billion initiative from Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

The aim of the program is to identify and address strengths and weaknesses of current COVID-19 therapies and vaccines, as well as the back the development of next-gen COVID-19 vaccines and therapies

The latest funding announcement announced allots $1 billion for vaccine clinical trials, $326 million for a new monoclonal antibody and another $100 million to spark innovation of novel vaccine and therapeutic technologies. 

Towards next-gen COVID-19 vaccines and therapies

Regeneron alone received $326 million under the program, dubbed Project NextGen. The funding for the Tarrytown, New York–bas…

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NIH to launch clinical trial of three mRNA HIV vaccines

HIV virus image courtesy of NIAID

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has announced a Phase 1 clinical study of HIV vaccines using mRNA sequences.

The study will test the safety and immunogenicity of three investigational HIV mRNA vaccines known as BG505 MD39.3 mRNA, BG505 MD39.3 gp151 mRNA and BG505 MD39.3 gp151 CD4KO mRNA.

The three HIV vaccine candidates were developed by scientists at the Scripps Consortium for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Development (CHAVD) and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) Neutralizing Antibody Center at Scripps.

NIAID is a division within the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Moderna (Nasdaq: MRNA) manufactured the vaccines for the HVTN 302 trial with an NIAID-backed contract.

Similar to mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines, each of the HIV vaccine candidates will be based on the spike protein found on the surface of the vir…

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NIH to study third dose of COVID-19 vaccine in people with autoimmune disease

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched a study to gauge the antibody response of a third dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in patients with autoimmune disease. Participants in the study had an insufficient immune response to the primary series of vaccination.

The Phase 2 study will also test the impact of pausing immunosuppressive medication to determine if it improves the antibody response.

The study, titled “COVID‐19 booster vaccine in autoimmune disease non‐responders,” will test an additional dose of vaccines from both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), an NIH division, is sponsoring the study.

The study will first focus on people with one of the following autoimmune diseases: multiple sclerosis, pemphigus, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus or systemic sclerosis.

On Aug. 12, FDA authorized an additional dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 va…

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