development of effective vaccines against HIV


    Christian Brander and Josep Mallolas


    IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute (IrsiCaixa, Instituto de Investigación del Sida) and Hospital Clínic, Barcelona, Spain


    HIVACAT is the Catalan programme to develop effective vaccines against HIV, led by the IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute and the Infectious Diseases and AIDS Unit of the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona.

    From 2007 to 2019, HIVACAT focused on developing strategies to prevent and cure HIV and AIDS. To this end, it established alliances with the most important HIV vaccine research reference centres worldwide and currently participates both in European projects working to develop new vaccines as well as in low-income African and South American countries, combatting HIV in disadvantaged population groups.

    HIVACAT combines the clinical and scientific experience of some 60 researchers trained in internationally renowned research centres, including Harvard University (USA), the Institut Pasteur in Paris (France) and the Royal Free Hospital in London (UK).

    The programme has the ongoing support of the ”la Caixa” Foundation, the Government of Catalonia and Esteve Laboratories. This programme and the achievements it has made place Catalonia at the forefront of international research in this field, as HIVACAT has participated in most of the clinical trials of new European vaccines against HIV and is also developing its own vaccines, with very promising results. In 2015, the spin-off company Aelix Therapeutics was created as a consequence of the patents being generated in the work carried out by HIVACAT.

    The HIVACAT research team has brought vaccines they have developed to phases of clinical trials in the framework of the CUTHIVAC, iHIVARNA and EAVI2020 projects (all with the financial support of the European Commission). Furthermore and thanks to Aelix Therapeutics, the clinical trial of Aelix-002 has entered its final phase, in which the HIVACAT HTI immunogen is being evaluated with a combination of three new vectors, including a new chimpanzee adenovirus vector.