A groundbreaking experimental vaccine has shown impressive results, per a new study released today. Get details and an explanation on what it means in the larger fight against HIV/AIDS, after the jump.
According to medical journal Nature, a new experimental vaccine has proven to protect rhesus monkeys from SIV, the monkey version of HIV. Of the test group used, monkeys who were given the vaccine and then exposed to a strain of SIV were “partially protected against the virus, which reduced their susceptibility to infection by 80 percent,” according to an ABC News report. “When the monkeys did become infected, the amount of the virus that appeared in their blood was substantially lower than monkeys that were not vaccinated.”
"I would say this is significant progress in the process of trying to develop a protective HIV vaccine,” said Eric Hunter, professor of pathology and co-director of the Center for AIDS Research at Atlanta's Emory University, who was not involved with the study.
The vaccines used in the monkey study all contained an essential element, Env, which binds the virus to the antibodies that can destroy it. Because of that fact, Hunter added that the study demonstrates that in order to prevent acquisition of the virus, a vaccine needs to have an Env glycoprotein component.
Experts also applauded the fact that the vaccine using one strain of the virus protected monkeys from a different strain of the virus.