New vaccine for HIV virus gives hope to knock out AIDS

10 July, 2018, 04:54 | Author: Sherman Richardson
  • AIDS activists light a group of candles placed in the shape of a red ribbon during an event marking World AIDS Day in Manila

Scientists could be one step closer to developing a vaccine for HIV, after a jab triggered an immune responses in humans and protected monkeys from the virus. The researchers found that every person who received the vaccine produced some kind of anti-HIV immune response, with almost 80 percent producing more advanced responses. "Obviously, the search for an HIV vaccine is very elusive", said Dr. Carlos del Rio, who was not involved with the study but has done similar research as the co-principal investigator of the Emory-CDC HIV Clinical Trials Unit. Among people aged 13 to 24 with HIV, an estimated 51 percent were not aware that they have the disease.

Approximately 37 million people worldwide are believed to be living with HIV or AIDS, with children accounting for two million of them. This vaccine is one of the five experimental HIV-1 vaccine concepts that reached such a success in nearly 40 years of HIV pandemic.

As a result of these findings further trials are set to be performed in sub-Saharan Africa on 2,600 women who are considered to be at risk of getting HIV to evaluate the vaccine concept.

"This study demonstrates that the mosaic Ad26 prime, Ad26 plus gp140 boost HIV vaccine candidate induced robust immune responses in humans and monkeys with comparable magnitude, kinetics, phenotype, and durability and also provided 67 per cent protection against viral challenge in monkeys", said Barouch.

The vaccine itself is a mosaic vaccine - one which contains genetic sequences from various HIV strains - and was originated in the lab of the lead author Dan Barouch. The subjects came from around twelve clinics from all over the world encompassing east Africa, South Africa, Thailand, and the United States.

The result of the study, published in The Lancet on July 6, showed that "mosaic" vaccine was able to trigger anti-HIV immune responses in healthy individuals. The HIV-1 vaccine proved safe and is now set to go to the next phase, which will be conducted in 2600 women in Southern Africa in a trial called imbokodo, a Zulu word for "rock".

However, this "mosaic" HIV-1 vaccine has a multi-target approach. We do not have a licensed prophylactic, i.e., meant to prevent disease, HIV vaccine.

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"Despite all the advances we have had with HIV, we need a vaccine".

A promising HIV vaccine has just emerged.

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.

Dr Brady added that in the meantime there were already tools that were effective for preventing the disease from spreading, such as contraception and treatments for HIV-positive people that prevent them from passing on the virus.

While the results so far have been encouraging, the research team and outside experts warn there are no guarantees it will actually work in the next trial phase dubbed HVTN705 or "Imbokodo" - this is Zulu word for "rock".

More than 80% of people who received this version also showed positive signs for 2 other measures of immune response. "Only a clinical efficacy trial can determine if it can protect humans".

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

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