Johnson & Johnson has announced full enrolment in its proof-of-concept efficacy study of Janssen’s investigational HIV preventive vaccine, Imbokodo (HVTN 705/HPX2008).

The company has completed enrolment procedures for the phase IIb trial, recruiting 2,600 women aged between 18 and 35 that are living in five African countries that have high rates of HIV.

The investigational HIV-1 preventive vaccine regimen contains mosaic immunogens - molecules capable of inducing an immune response - that have been created using genes from a wide variety of viral subtypes responsible for the HIV pandemic.

The trial is the first efficacy study conducted in relation to Janssen’s mosaic-based preventive vaccine and is testing whether it can safely and effectively reduce the rate of new HIV infections.

Achieving full enrolment in Imbokodo is an “Important step forward in our work to advance a universal vaccine that could ultimately help turn the tide on HIV,” said Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer, Johnson & Johnson.

He continued, “Finding a safe and effective vaccine has proven to be one of the greatest public health challenges of our time. Johnson & Johnson stands with other stakeholders in ensuring that this scientific effort remains a top global priority.”

Although significant progress has been made in the fight against HIV, more than 35 million people are living with the virus globally. In 2017, 1.8 million people were newly infected with HIV and nearly one million people died of AIDS. According to UNAIDS, in sub-Saharan Africa young women aged 15–24 years are twice as likely to be living with HIV than men.

Initial results from the anticipated Imbokodo trial are anticipated by 2021.