HIV Vaccine Research Shows Promising Development

HIV Vaccine Research

It’s been more than 30 years since scientists started hunting for a vaccine that would eradicate HIV, the virus known for causing AIDS if untreated. On Tuesday, April 6th, a news report revealed the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, are progressing in their HIV vaccine research. 

According to Dr. William Shaffner, a professor of preventive medicines and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, the study is still in its early stage. Although he is not a part of the research team, the professor said the results so far are provocative. 

IAVI and Scripps’ research aims to address the difficulties caused by the rapid mutation of HIV. They hope their vaccine would help the body create broadly neutralizing antibodies. The researchers believe they can achieve this by stimulating a person’s immune system against different HIV variants and mutations. 

The early-stage phase 1 clinical trial involved 48 healthy adults and is still underway. The individuals received two doses of either the vaccine or a placebo two months apart. The preliminary report showed 97% of those who got the vaccine had early evidence that their immune system might be able to make broad antibodies. 

Schaffner said this is important as they need something like a shotgun to stop the rapidly mutating HIV. He added that this is a 21st-century development, and like the COVID-19 vaccines, the science is finally ready. The vaccine candidates will require testing in larger studies, but for now, there is hope it would succeed where others failed. 

IAVI and Scripps’s researchers are working with companies like Moderna to harness the mRNA technology used in creating COVID-19 vaccines. While the HIV vaccine research is not mRNA-based, the researchers are looking to see the role it would play in developing the HIV vaccine in the future. 

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