An Experimental HIV Vaccine Has Been Trialled in Humans With Promising Results

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

"Although these data are promising, we need to remain cautious", said study leader Dan Barouch, a Harvard Medical School professor.

However, some other researchers have cautioned that the new vaccine's ability to induce an HIV specific immune response does not actually mean that it would prevent the humans from the infection itself.

This is one of only five vaccines to have made it to this stage of testing in the 35 years since the HIV/AIDS epidemic started.

Only one vaccine has ever shown evidence of protecting against HIV. In the phase one clinical trial, researchers focused on HIV-1.

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.

The mixture of HIV strains in the "mosaic" vaccine is delivered using a nonreplicating common-cold virus.

They found that "all vaccine regimens tested were capable of generating anti-HIV immune responses in healthy individuals", meaning that the study participants built up some kind of protection from the virus. The main agenda was to target the immune responses generated by the diverse variety of HIV virus strains.

A HIV vaccine that has the potential to protect people around the world from the virus has shown promising results.

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In addition to showing successful immune responses in the human patients, the vaccine was also shown to fend off a similarly unsafe immunodeficiency virus in 67% of monkeys who received the treatment.

The researchers also noted several limitations, including the fact that that the relevance of vaccine protection in rhesus monkeys to clinical efficacy in humans remains unclear.

A vaccine has proven elusive as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) mutates easily and can hide away in cells, evading the immune system, only to re-emerge and spread years later. The participants were treated in clinics in east Africa, South Africa, Thailand, and the United States of America, and either received a placebo or one of seven vaccine combinations. In a world with HIV and AIDS is home to around 37 million people. Over a 48-week period, they were given four vaccines.

"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.

He adds: "These results should be interpreted cautiously".

Vaccine caused the correct reaction of the immune system all 393 participants.

"The road to the clinic is still unpredictable since the exact mode of action in humans is still unknown and the 67 percent protection in monkeys might not be replicable in humans", said George Williams Mbogo from the Burnet Institute in Australia, who wasn't involved in the study.

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