Possible HIV vaccine has passed early test

IAS Conference on HIVParticipants in the 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science walk through the halls, in Paris, France, Monday July 24, 2017. The president of the International AIDS Society (IAS), Linda-Gail Bekker, said on Sunday that potential cuts by the United States to HIV research could put the fight against the virus in danger. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Initial trials for a Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) vaccine have shown promising results, according to a research group. They are hopeful that the next testing phase will start by the end of 2017.


The prototype of the vaccine has been tested on 393 people in the United States, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa and Thailand, and it increased the production of antibodies in 100% of vaccine recipients, according to Dan Barouch, the
head of the Centre for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Medical Centre in Massachusetts, USA.

On Monday, Barouch presented the results of the initial testing round at the International AIDS Society’s HIV Research Conference in Paris.

‘These promising results, along with advances from many others in the field, support a new optimism that it may be possible to develop an HIV vaccine,’ said Barouch.

A vaccine is considered by many to be the best method for controlling the HIV and AIDS epidemic. Over 76 million people worldwide have been infected with HIV since the 1980s. About 35 million have died as a result of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which is said to develop from HIV infection.

Keeping it at bay

HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system, and causes the life-threatening disease, AIDS.

There has been no cure for HIV infection, or any vaccine against the virus until now, but antiretroviral medications can keep the virus at bay so the infected person doesn’t develop AIDS.

The UN organisation, UNAIDS, estimates that just under 37 million people today live with HIV. Of these, only 19.5 million have access to antiretroviral medicines. According to researchers, It isn’t yet clear whether the vaccine will protect people. The research group hopes their prototype will be approved for the next testing phase.

The leader of the International AIDS Society (IAS), Linda-Gail Bekker, classified the results as ‘important news.’

Anthony Fauci, at the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in the United States, said the work of creating a vaccine will be ‘very difficult, but it will be a game changer’.

‘If we get a moderately effective vaccine, then, when combined with other preventive measures, it could have a major impact on the pandemic,’ said Fauci in advance of the conference. Another possible vaccine is presently being tested in South Africa.

© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today