Finally! Vaccination for HIV diseases may protect people; says new study

Scientists announced that a trial drug against the AIDS vaccine has yielded encouraging results and has advanced to the next phase of the pre-approval trial process

As researchers worldwide work toward creating a vaccine for HIV, new study results indicate that an experimental mosaic HIV vaccine may have the potential to protect against a wide-range of global HIV strains. The main agenda was to target the immune responses generated by the diverse variety of HIV virus strains.

A parallel study in rhesus monkeys was also performed so that immunogenicity and protective efficacy of the various vaccines could be assessed and the optimal vaccine regimen could be realised to transfer to further clinical studies.

"Implementation of even a moderately effective HIV vaccine together with the existing HIV prevention and treatment strategies is expected to contribute greatly to the evolving HIV/AIDS response", the editorial continued.

"It's probably not the definitive HIV vaccine, but it could be a phenomenal breakthrough", said Jean-Daniel Lelievre from the French Vaccine Research Institute, who also pointed out that, at best, this research will come up with a 100% working vaccine in about ten years from now.

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

"This study demonstrates that the mosaic Ad26/Ad26 plus gp140 vaccine candidate induced robust and comparable immune responses in human and monkeys", said Barouch, who is also Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

The new so-called mosaic vaccine is composed of proteins of various strains of this virus, so ideally should be universal protection.

The participants, from the US, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa, and Thailand, received four vaccinations over the course of 48 weeks.

Researchers, including those from Harvard Medical School in the U.S., 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.

The next phase of the pre-approval trial process will include 2,600 women in southern Africa to determine whether HIV infection can be prevented.

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

A promising HIV vaccine has just emerged.

A vaccine tested in Thailand lowered the rate of human infection by 31%, but the effect was considered too low to advance it to common use. We do not have a licensed prophylactic, i.e., meant to prevent disease, HIV vaccine.

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.

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.

HIV mainly is a virus which is causing a deadly disease known as AIDS, Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

The most effective version, given to 12 monkeys, managed to provide protection to 8 of them, while the other 4 eventually became infected.

However, researchers said these results should be interpreted cautiously. "But the data is promising and we are happy to report the immune response".

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