C5 refers to a region of the surface of HIV. Research suggests that anti-C5 antibodies, or antibodies that attack this portion of HIV, are an important part of the immune response among non-processors. Researchers believe that Vacc-C5 will stimulate production of these antibodies, and help the body’s immune system gain control of the virus.
The first clinical trial of Vacc-C5 is being run out of Oslo University in Norway. It will be a phase I/II trial. This means the main focus of the trial will be to make sure the vaccine is safe for people, and the secondary focus will be on seeing if the vaccine is effective in boosting immune response in the desired fashion.
The trial will involve 36 people who have been infected with HIV for over a year, who have been on stable ART for over 6 months, and who have viral loads of less than 50 copies/mL. Three different dosages will be used, to help researchers determine which dosage is the most effective while having the fewest side effects.
Vacc-C5 may also be combined with another Bionor vaccine currently in trials, Vacc-4x. Vacc-4x is currently being tested as a preventative vaccine. If both vaccines show some benefit, Bionor may try combining them to see it together they offer greater protection against HIV infection than Vacc-4x does alone.