New vaccine for HIV virus gives hope to knock out AIDS

Henrietta Brewer
July 10, 2018

Clinical trials of an HIV vaccine that is supposed to protect the person from different strains have shown promising results. They also tried the drug on 72 laboratory monkeys and proceeded to infect them with six injections of HIV like viruses. A safe and effective preventative vaccine is urgently needed to curb the HIV pandemic, the researchers said. The 2 boost vaccinations used various combinations of Adv.Mos.HIV or Modified Vaccina Ankara, with or without 2 different doses of clade C HIV gp 140 envelope protein containing an aluminum adjuvant.

Doctors diagnosed over 1.8 million new cases of HIV infection in 2016, the authors informed. The challenges in the development of an HIV vaccine are unprecedented, and the ability to induce HIV-specific immune responses does not necessarily indicate that a vaccine will protect humans from HIV infection, Barouch said. In that same year, some 1.8 million people were newly infected while 1 million had already died because of HIV-related complications.

Decades, scientists around the world tirelessly searched, tried, created, was disappointed, tried again and again to find a way to overcome the most awful virus the XXI century - the human immunodeficiency virus.

Though the vaccine triggered a response in the immune system of the people who took it, it is not clear if this would be enough to fight off the virus and prevent infection. This new vaccine aims to protect people from nearly all strains of the virus. The subjects came from around twelve clinics from all over the world encompassing east Africa, South Africa, Thailand, and the United States.

Researchers, including those from Harvard Medical School in the United States, found that the "mosaic" vaccine, created by combining pieces of different HIV viruses, is well-tolerated and generated comparable and robust immune responses against HIV in healthy adults and rhesus monkeys.

Nevertheless, the promising results of the study mean researchers will next test the treatment on 2,600 women in southern Africa who are at risk of getting the illness - one of only five vaccines to make it to this stage of so-called efficacy trials.

Professor Barouch said, "These results should be interpreted cautiously".

However, this "mosaic" HIV-1 vaccine has a multi-target approach.

An HIV-1 vaccine would be much more effective than a prophylactic medication. Despite all the advances we have had with HIV, we need a vaccine.

The UK newspaper headlines were somewhat overoptimistic, as the design of the study means we can not yet say that the vaccine will truly be effective in people.

"I can not emphasise how badly we need to have a get rid of HIV in the next generation altogether", said Francois Venter of the University of the Witwatersrand Reproductive Health and HIV Institute in South Africa. It's unclear whether it would provide protection in humans.

3d rendered HIV Virus in Blood Stream in color background.

Scientists use these initial phases of clinical trials to determine the best dosage to use and to see whether a vaccine is safe.

Previous HIV-1 vaccine candidates have typically been limited to specific regions of the world.

It is still too early to speculate that it would work with 100 percent success say the researchers but they are hopeful.

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