Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

Vaccine against HIV on the horizon after 'promising' drug test results

Vaccine against HIV on the horizon after 'promising' drug test results

And although we now live in the era of PrEP - a highly effective, preventative drug - its high price tag makes it out of reach for numerous millions affected.

"Despite unprecedented advances in HIV treatment and prophylaxis, the number of people living with HIV infection continues to increase worldwide", they wrote. The mosaic is one of five vaccines to ever make it this far in the testing stages, but none of the previous vaccines were successful enough to make it to the next round of testing.

However, there's a strong incentive for this vaccine to succeed.

The research team developed the treatment as a "mosaic" vaccine, meaning that it was created using immunity properties against multiple strains of HIV in order to maximize protection. Should it prove effective, doctors could administer vaccine on a broad scale where past vaccines would have only worked for small populations even if they'd worked well.

Comparatively, the new HIV vaccine yielded better immunization rate and virtually no side effects.

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.

More than three decades after the identification of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), scientists are still working to develop a preventative vaccine that could finally put an end to the epidemic for which there are almost two million new infections each year.

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In that same year, some 1.8 million people were newly infected while 1 million had already died because of HIV-related complications.

Results showed that all vaccine regimens tested were capable of generating anti-HIV immune responses in healthy individuals and were well tolerated, with similar numbers of local and systemic reactions reported in all groups, most of which were mild-to-moderate in severity. This new vaccine aims to protect people from nearly all strains of the virus.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School and consistently ranks as a national leader among independent hospitals in National Institutes of Health funding. "Only a clinical efficacy trial can determine if it can protect humans".

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.

"These results represent an important milestone", Barouch said when speaking with BBC News. The human trial participants came from 12 clinics in South Africa, east Africa, Thailand and the United States.

All of the vaccines prompted anti-HIV immune responses in the participants, the results revealed. It's unclear whether it would provide protection in humans.

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.

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