HIV vaccine delivers promising results in human tests

HIV vaccine delivers promising results in human tests

HIV vaccine delivers promising results in human tests

Barouch, who is the lead author of the study, also warned, however, "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".

A vaccine created from various HIV strains, called the "mosaic" vaccine, shows potential to protect people against the many types of virus that cause AIDS.

Sixty-seven rhesus monkeys were also given the vaccine, and the scientists found that it protected the monkeys against simian-human immunodeficiency virus. Among people aged 13 to 24 with HIV, an estimated 51 percent were not aware that they have the disease. At present around 37 million individuals are living with HIV/AIDS with 1.8 million new infections and 1 million deaths annually says the World Health Organization.

The study was conducted in 2015-2016, and in July 2017, scientists told the world about the results.

The study is the result of a collaboration among researchers at BIDMC, Harvard Medical School and the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard; the United States Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR); the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative; the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V., part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson; and multiple other partners. In that same year, some 1.8 million people were newly infected while 1 million had already died because of HIV-related complications.

The mixture of HIV strains in the "mosaic" vaccine is delivered using a nonreplicating common-cold virus. This new vaccine aims to protect people from nearly all strains of the virus. The human trial participants came from 12 clinics in South Africa, east Africa, Thailand and the United States. Scientists must await the results of this trial find out whether the vaccine cannot only provoke an immune response, but actively protect against HIV. 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". The mosaic approach, where antigens are taken from several strains, could hold the answer to this problem. A safe and effective preventative vaccine is urgently needed to curb the HIV pandemic.

He adds: "These results should be interpreted cautiously".

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

Dr Michael Brady, medical director at the Terrence Higgins Trust, said it was early days for the vaccine but the signs were "promising".

"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. "Only a clinical efficacy trial can determine if it can protect humans". Further attempts to infect the subjects of macaques with virus SHIV-SF162P3, which is similar to HIV that showed resistance in 67%.

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