HIV vaccine ready for human trials

26 February 2010

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Category: Research & medical benefits

macaque–monkey.jpgUsing a deactivated form of HIV as a vaccine may be the best new treatment for fighting the HIV virus, concluded scientists after studying primate responses to the treatment.

Research has shown that monkeys are responsive to the primate form of the vaccine, with virus concentrations falling by at least 95%. The number of immune cells did not decrease either, suggesting that the immune system was supported enough to withstand infection. After the trial, monkeys were able to continue suppressing the virus and lead a healthy life.

Now the scientists who have developed the vaccine would like to extend this research to humans. Once approved for trials in humans the vaccine will first be tested in people already infected with HIV, in order to minimise any potential risk of infection in those who aren’t HIV positive. However the team are confident the vaccine will not result in the re-activation of the 'dead' virus. To eliminate this danger, they will remove genes that the virus uses for replication, allowing it to infect only, but not reproduce.

The success of the primate studies is a positive indication that the HIV vaccine has the potential to be safe and effective.