Hope in Africa as HIV vaccine shows promising results

Almost 80 million people are estimated to have been infected since the virus was first diagnosed in the early 1980s

To date, it's only one of five experimental HIV-1 vaccine concepts to make it this far in nearly four decades of the HIV pandemic.

The study results from these early trials have been published in the latest issue of the Lancet. Thousands of people are still contracting HIV every year in the US - an estimated 38,500 people became infected with the virus in 2015 alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest statistics. A safe and effective preventative vaccine is urgently needed to curb the HIV pandemic. "This ongoing trial might lead to further refinement of monkey models that can accelerate the preclinical evaluation of vaccine regimens".

In this study, the researchers aimed to evaluate mosaic adenovirus serotype 26-based HIV-1 vaccine candidates.

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-1 is the most common form of the virus, while HIV-2 is relatively uncommon and less infectious. However, people must take it regularly, i.e., sometimes daily, to protect themselves from the virus. Prep stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis.

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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 is not the case with the vaccine. The virus is able to mutate to avoid the attack of the human immune system, so we can't develop immunity to it.

Other researchers caution seeing this vaccine as the final solution to the virus. Therefore, it targets several different HIV strains. There are limitless HIV strains across the world. The participants all underwent a double-blind, random, placebo-controlled trial of what's being called the "mosaic" vaccine.

The study selected participants from around the world, notably those from the United States, Thailand, South Africa, Uganda, and Rwanda. They also tried the drug on 72 laboratory monkeys and proceeded to infect them with six injections of HIV like viruses.

A new vaccine to fight against HIV is giving medical professionals a bit of optimism, thanks to new research from Harvard. He is also Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Through this study, the researchers have found a new vaccine that seems to be appropriate and safe and induces an immune in human beings as well as the rhesus monkeys. "Moreover, the vaccine provided 67 percent protection against viral challenge in monkeys".

Susan Buchbinder, MD, of the University of California San Francisco, one of the co-chairs of the ongoing phase IIb efficacy trial for this vaccine, explained that the results of the non-human primate study were used to help select the most appropriate candidate for the vaccine in humans.

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