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Now for HIV

Moderna is poised to begin a trial of an mRNA-based vaccine for HIV, Gizmodo reports. It adds that new trial registration data indicates the company is starting a small phase I clinical trial of its HIV vaccine, dubbed mRNA-1644, in 56 people.

Popular Science notes that HIV has been a particularly difficult virus for vaccine developers because of how quickly it integrates into the human genome. To prevent infection, it says that a high level of antibodies must be present at exposure. Gizmodo writes that Moderna is hoping that its mRNA-based approach in combination with a new way of eliciting antibodies will be effective.

Following successes with mRNA-based vaccines for SARS-CoV-2, Moderna, BioNTech, and others are moving ahead with work on vaccines for other diseases, including the flumalaria, tuberculosis, and cancer.

"We've had an incredible year using messenger RNA to fight a pandemic," Stephen Hoge, president of Moderna, told CBS Sunday Morning in June. "But we think we're just starting in the infectious disease space. And so, there's a large number of other vaccines we're bringing forward."

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.