Hope in Africa as HIV vaccine shows promising results

Almost 80 million people are estimated to have been infected since the virus was first diagnosed in the early 1980s

Worldwide, there are more than 37 million people with HIV or AIDS, and every year there are 2 million new cases of infection with the virus.

The mosaic vaccine combination that showed the most promise in humans was found to protect around 67% of the 72 monkeys from getting the HIV disease.

The experimental vaccine which is called as HIV 1 vaccine was seemed to be effective among humans, this previous experimental vaccine was having the disadvantage as this was only effective in certain areas of the world. All of the vaccine combinations turned out safe and produced an anti-HIV immunity. The study found that the vaccine "produced an anti-HIV immune system response in tests on 393 people".

An accompanying editorial by George N. Pavlakis, MD, and Barbara K. Felber, PhD, both of the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Maryland, discussed this approach, stating that it "defines an additional path for exploring the development of an effective HIV vaccine". In a new study, scientists share an experimental vaccine and its success in human and rhesus monkey trials.

Some researchers explain that the vaccine is not a solution to the virus, which even if it induces an immune response to HIV, it can not prevent humans from getting 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".

Just because it protected two-thirds of monkeys in a lab trial does not mean the drug will protect humans, "and thus we need to await the results of the. study before we know whether or not this vaccine will protect humans against HIV infection", he said.

The authors also noted the relevance of vaccine protection in rhesus monkeys to clinical efficacy in humans remains unclear, and there was no definitive immunological measurement that was known to predict protection against HIV-1 in humans. "Obviously, the search for an HIV vaccine is very elusive".

A second round of trials is now taking place on a group of 2,600 women in sub-Saharan Africa who are at risk of contracting HIV. We can not say anything on a note as the majority of studies which are done on the animals prove to be wrong when seen in humans.

"This is only the fifth HIV vaccine concept that will be tested for efficacy in humans in the 35+ year history of the global HIV epidemic", Barouch added.

Based on the results from this phase 1/2a clinical trial that involved almost 400 healthy adults, a phase 2b trial has been initiated in southern Africa to determine the safety and efficacy of the HIV-1 vaccine candidate in 2,600 women at risk for acquiring HIV.

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

These types of trials are created to test out whether an intervention is safe and works at the most basic level.

This study was supported by Janssen Vaccines & Prevention BV and the NIH, the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, and a cooperative agreement between the Henry M Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine and the US Department of Defense. A condom is the most effective form of protection against HIV and other STIs.



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