Mymetics Vaccine Program Background
Worldwide, over 85% of HIV infections are the result of sexual transmission in which mucosal tissues from the genital and anorectal regions have been exposed to HIV-1 present in semen or secretions. According to a recent report from the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, "Since an effective preventive AIDS vaccine will primarily have to protect an individual from sexual transmission of HIV, researchers think it will probably be important for a vaccine candidate to induce strong mucosal immune responses." Mymetics-affiliated researchers have been able to engineer gp41-derived antigens (proteins and peptides) capable of eliciting antibodies, particularly IgA antibodies, with strong potential for preventing in vitro virus translocation across the mucosal barrier and/or to inhibit cell infection, thus preventing HIV-1 infection.
Mymetics has combined three important concepts in its vaccine design: 1- Induction of mucosal and blood antibodies to allow protection in different anatomical compartments and block the early event of HIV translocation at the genito-reproductive and intestine tracts and subsequent infection of target cells underlying the mucosal tissues, thereby preventing HIV entry and spreading in the body. 2- Focusing the immune response against conserved regions on gp41 that may induce protective antibodies against a broad range of HIV clades. Mymetics is developing vaccines that contain antigens expressing limited immunodominant regions, while immunodistractive regions have been removed or altered without affecting the immunogenicity of the antigen.
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