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hVIVO delivers promising results for Imutex’s mosquito vaccine

AGS-v PLUS contains five synthetic peptides that originate from proteins found in mosquito saliva.

hVIVO – a company that focuses on testing infectious and respiratory disease products using human challenge clinical trials – has announced positive data from a first-in-human phase 1 clinical study evaluating the safety and immunogenicity of AGS-v PLUS.

AGS-v PLUS is a vaccine candidate against arboviral diseases that target the saliva of the mosquito rather than its pathogens. The therapy is owned by Imutex – a joint venture with PepTcell – in which hVIVO has a 49% shareholding.

The vaccine has a novel proposed dual action mechanism of preventing infection in humans while controlling the mosquito population by impacting reproduction. AGS-v PLUS contains five synthetic peptides that originate from proteins found in mosquito saliva.

Data demonstrated that all AGS-v PLUS formulations were well tolerated with no serious adverse effects. They also generated a robust cellular and humoral immune response in participants, while the immune response mounted against the candidate was shown to reduce the infectivity of the Zika virus in vitro.

Yamin Khan, chief executive officer of hVIVO, reflected: “The data demonstrated that AGS-v PLUS was well tolerated and generated a robust immune response in participants, with no serious adverse events.

“The next steps will be to determine if these findings translate into clinical efficacy against mosquito-borne diseases, which inflict a severe burden on public health systems around the world.”

Mosquito-borne diseases include Zika, West Nile, chikungunya, dengue, malaria and yellow fever. Emerging from these conditions, there are approximately 360 million cases and over 600,000 deaths annually, although the true burden is likely to be underestimated.

The data was published in eBioMedicine, a peer-reviewed open-access biomedical journal element of The Lancet Discovery Science.