The HVTN, with expert scientists from medical institutions across the globe alongside top clinicians, educators, and dedicated community representatives, is committed to conducting scientifically rigorous and ethical trials.
All clinical studies done by the HVTN test the safety of vaccine candidates. We also look to see if people can get these vaccines without having side effects that make them very uncomfortable. We look at the immune responses that are generated in people who receive these vaccines. Some of our studies look at whether these vaccines protect against HIV infection or control HIV if infection does occur (efficacy studies).
Many of these studies test combinations of products in various doses, schedules, and sequences. For example, does a DNA vaccine followed by a viral vector vaccine generate a different immune response than the same regimen in the reverse order? We may also look at different ways of administering the vaccines, such as using a needle and syringe or needle-free devices. In addition to testing vaccine candidates we do studies to follow people who have been in a vaccine study, to better understand their immune responses over time.
The HVTN shares data and specimens collected in its studies with investigators who would like to use our materials to answer research questions related to vaccinology, immunology, or HIV/AIDS. These studies are called ancillary/exploratory studies, and the Network invites any researchers to do these studies because it is our belief that collaborative science benefits everyone, including the community.
Over the years, the HVTN has collaborated with 173 institutions from around the world in conducting scientific research, including ancillary/exploratory studies. Some examples of our completed ancillary/exploratory studies include, “Genetic impact of vaccination on breakthrough HIV-1;” “Selectively willing and conditionally able: HIV vaccine trial participation among women at "high risk" of HIV infection;” and “Broad innate immune activation predicts CD8+ T-cell responses.”
Ancillary/exploratory studies are a way to make the most of data and samples collected during clinical trials. They also benefit researchers who may not have the resources to collect the required data and specimens on their own, but have the curiosity and drive to ask challenging research questions. By encouraging cooperation with investigators near and far, the HVTN ensures that its studies’ benefits extend far beyond the scope of finding a safe, globally effective HIV vaccine.
If you are interested in proposing a study with us, click here to read more about idea submission.