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10 July 2018, 04:57 | Melissa Porter
Are we on the road to an HIV vaccine?Hide Caption
A new study has given the researchers a ray of light in the battle to safeguard people from the most widespread virus, HIV-1.
The new so-called mosaic vaccine is composed of proteins of various strains of this virus, so ideally should be universal protection.
Based on the results from phase 1 and phase 2a clinical trials that involved almost 400 healthy adults in Rwanda, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda and the United States, 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. A safe and effective preventative vaccine is urgently needed to curb the HIV pandemic.
Inventing a vaccine has proved an huge challenge for scientists, in part because there are so many strains of the virus, but also because HIV is adept at mutating to elude attack from our immune systems. This was announced in the scientific journal Lancet.
BBC News reported on the study Saturday, noting that there are now over 37 million people living with HIV/AIDS around the globe, and the number increases by 1.8 million every year.
"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. The resulting vaccine, the scientists hoped, would trigger an immune response against wide range of strains of the virus.
"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.
Now published its key data on early stages, explained in the company Johnson & Johnson, whose daughter Janssen pharmaceuticals has developed a vaccine.
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.
HIV, as we know is very unsafe and nearly incurable disease and researchers are behind to find the cure of this disease for a long time. Among people aged 13 to 24 with HIV, an estimated 51 percent were not aware that they have the disease.
We don't yet know how well it will protect people from HIV-1 infections in real life.
Despite the relatively good results from the human and animal trials, the researchers are careful not to be too confident in the potential vaccine.
"I can not emphasise how badly we need to have a vaccine.to get rid of HIV in the next generation altogether", said Francois Venter of the University of the Witwatersrand Reproductive Health and HIV Institute in South Africa. New vaccine concepts and vectors are in development and can progress to efficacy trials, which is an important process since development of an AIDSvaccine remains urgent.
The most effective version, given to 12 monkeys, managed to provide protection to 8 of them, while the other 4 eventually became infected. "Healthy" means that they were not infected by HIV. Partly because there are so many different HIV strains.
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