Scientists Develop Vaccine Against HIV After Medical Breakthrough

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Scientists Develop Vaccine Against HIV After Medical Breakthrough

Medical scientists investigating a vaccine for HIV/AIDS, say there have been extremely promising results from the early trials of a new type of vaccine.

Researchers from the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and Scripps Research have said that the new vaccine that they have developed allows the human body to produce rare antibodies that can fight against infection from HIV.

Dr. William Schief, a Professor and immunologist at Scripps Research, said of the trials:

"This study demonstrates proof of principle for a new vaccine concept for HIV, a concept that could be applied to other pathogens, as well. With our many collaborators on the study team, we showed that vaccines can be designed to stimulate rare immune cells with specific properties, and this targeted stimulation can be very efficient in humans. We believe this approach will be key to making an HIV vaccine and possibly important for making vaccines against other pathogens."

The research team is attempting through the vaccine to have the human body create neutralizing antibodies known as bnABs, which can stop a person being infected with HIV.

Schief added:

"We and others postulated many years ago that in order to induce bnAbs, you must start the process by triggering the right B cells — cells that have special properties giving them potential to develop into bnAb-secreting cells. In this trial, the targeted cells were only about one in a million of all naïve B cells. To get the right antibody response, we first need to prime the right B cells. The data from this trial affirms the ability of the vaccine immunogen to do this."

The search for a vaccine against HIV has been ongoing for decades, since the disease first came to prominence in the 1980s. HIV is a disease that attacks the immune system over a number of years and eventually develops into AIDs, which is fatal. Most people with HIV who do not receive treatment eventually go on to develop AIDs, though a small minority of infected people do not become ill.

There are around 38 million people currently living with HIV around the world and AIDs has killed around 33 million people in the 40 or so years since it first emerged.

All attempts at creating a vaccine so far have been unsuccessful. While previous vaccine attempts have not worked, drugs used to treat HIV have become very powerful. In developed nations, the drugs used against HIV are so effective that a person infected with HIV can now be expected to live as long as a person that does not have HIV. Other drugs have also been developed which can stop HIV infection if they are taken within 24 hours of being exposed to the virus and which stop people passing the disease on to others.

[h/t: IFL Science]

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Thinking Humanity: Scientists Develop Vaccine Against HIV After Medical Breakthrough
Scientists Develop Vaccine Against HIV After Medical Breakthrough
Medical scientists investigating a vaccine for HIV/AIDS, say there have been extremely promising results from the early trials of a new type of vaccin
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