The Search For an HIV Vaccine May Soon Be Over
HIV is one of the deadliest viruses on the planet, newly infecting about 1.7 million people in 2018. But scientists are getting closer to developing a vaccine.
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Since the early days of the HIV epidemic, the virus itself has confounded researchers.
HIV’s extraordinary diversity and ability to rapidly mutate are huge obstacles in getting a grip on the virus. And it's precisely the virus’ unique characteristics which allow HIV to propagate inside the human body that also make it so difficult to tackle and treat.
Developing a vaccine isn’t easy. There aren’t many good models to reference for research in humans, which means scientists don’t know what the body’s immune response looks like when trying to protect itself.
In 2009, researchers declared that a vaccine trial done in Thailand had protected a significant minority of humans against the disease for the first time ever.
Just recently, researchers announced that they’d identified a new strain of HIV, the first in 19 search for an HIV vaccine might soon come to a close.
Find out more about HIV vaccine research, trials, and how close we might be to developing an HIV vaccine on this episode of Elements.
#HIV #Vaccine #Health #AIDS #Seeker #Science #Elements
How Close Are We to Curing HIV/AIDS? -
The HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN)
"The Network’s Clinical Research Sites are located at leading research institutions in over 30 cities on five continents. Internationally renowned researchers in HIV vaccines and prevention lead these units and contribute to the Network’s scientific agenda. The Network’s headquarters are at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington"
DEVELOPING A VACCINE AGAINST HIV INFECTION
"An optimistic forecast of HIV vaccine availability is that one might be available by 2030. A more pessimistic view is that it may take 20 to 30 years to develop a vaccine that is judged to be effective enough to justify the financing of widespread vaccination campaigns in regions where HIV is endemic."
Infant Model of HIV Opens New Avenues for Research
"The researchers are already at work using the new model to test novel immune-based therapies, including monoclonal antibody therapies directed against the HIV envelope, to extend the time to virus rebound after stopping therapies. “A few years ago, a Mississippi baby who went on treatment quickly after delivery and exposure to HIV, and was then taken off therapy unintentionally, had no detectable virus for over two years. Eventually, the virus did return,” said Dr. Permar.“We are interested in how we can make it more likely to have more children like that.”"
Special thanks to Janet Iwasa for the animations of the HIV virus:
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