Medical

New HIV Vaccine Will Launch Trial In South Africa

New HIV Vaccine Will Launch Trial In South Africa

High costs are just one reason that, in the long-term, continued large-scale HIV treatment is unrealistic. In an area where HIV is of pandemic proportions, most of the volunteers in this new HIV vaccine trial have been touched by the disease in some way, whether the affected acquaintance was a family member, a friend, a neighbor or a teacher.

"HIV has taken a devastating toll in South Africa, but now we begin a scientific exploration that could hold great promise for our country".

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According to The Washington Post, the new HIV vaccine is the incarnation of one that was previously tested in a trial in Thailand, where 16,000 individuals were inoculated with a vaccine that yielded a modest, but inadequate, efficacy of 31 percent. The vaccine worked much like the common polio vaccine does, tricking the body into thinking that HIV was present in participants' bloodstreams. Usually, when a person is infected with a virus, their immune system creates antibodies that target the bug. Researchers are hoping it will halve new HIV infections among participants by 2021. The routine stock-out of the AIDS medication can be blamed, but the fact is that the HIV virus is slowly getting resistant, so that a vaccine cure is the only holy grail which can contain the AIDS epidemic. These antibodies can kill variants of HIV from across the world. South African studies have been able to identify some people who produce these superantibodies naturally. However, the results from that study enabled scientists to hone in on some modifications to reformulate the vaccine. In the meantime we can replicate and mass-produce these antibodies in ultraclean factories. Clinical trial This approach, called passive immunisation, has been used for more than 100 years to treat viruses such as rabies, but has only recently become an option for HIV. What's tricky about HIV, however, is that when a person is infected with the virus, that same process of developing antibodies isn't triggered. In the HVTN 702 study, the design, schedule and components of the RV144 vaccine regimen have been modified in an attempt to increase the magnitude and duration of vaccine-elicited protective immune responses. If passive immunisation works, as it has in monkeys, it will change the landscape of HIV prevention research. Dr. Laher is a director of the Perinatal HIV Research Unit at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

Researchers will closely monitor them for any side affects or signs the vaccine has not prevented them contracting HIV in the community. But the results of these trials will take years.


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