Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

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

An estimated 37 million people live with HIV  AIDS according to the World Health Organization An estimated 37 million people live with HIV AIDS according to the World Health
Johnnie Parks | 10 July, 2018, 04:56

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. The study found that the vaccine "produced an anti-HIV immune system response in tests on 393 people".

It also protected some monkeys from a virus that is similar to HIV. While there is still more testing to be done, the treatment has the potential to prevent the infection of HIV. Among people aged 13 to 24 with HIV, an estimated 51 percent were not aware that they have the disease.

According to the World Health Organization, it is estimated that 37 million people live with HIV and AIDS and there are approximately 1.8 million new infections every year.

A vaccine is a vital weapon in the war against the virus, which infects an 1.8 million people each year. In a similarly designed study, Barouch and colleagues tested the same vaccine for its ability to protect rhesus monkeys challenged with an HIV-like virus from infection.

The Ad26/Ad26 plus gp140 vaccine candidate induced the greatest immune responses in humans and also provided the best protection in monkeys - resulting in complete protection against SHIV infection in two-thirds of the vaccinated animals after six challenges. However, because the mosaic vaccine attacks multiple strains of the virus, doctors would be able to administer it on a much broader scale, and it could potentially be a powerful weapon against HIV if all goes well. The study, published yesterday, was conducted on about 400 HIV-negative adults from the United States, Thailand, East Africa, and South Africa, but also on 72 lab monkeys.

Researchers, including those from Harvard Medical School in the United States, 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.

"Based on these data, the mosaic Ad26/Env HIV-1 vaccine has been advanced into a phase 2b clinical efficacy study to determine whether this vaccine will prevent HIV infection in humans in southern Africa", said Barouch.

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"These results represent an important milestone", said Dan Barouch, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and lead author of the study.

Creating an effective HIV-1 vaccine has been a huge challenge for researchers.

Mild side effects were common, and around 1% of people in the trial had more serious adverse reactions to the vaccine. All the subjects of the study received what is known as "mosaic" vaccine.

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.

In the meantime, the vaccine will be tested on women in South Africa, who are most at risk of contracting the virus.

The most effective version, given to 12 monkeys, managed to provide protection to 8 of them, while the other 4 eventually became infected. "But the data is promising and we are happy to report the immune response".

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

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