HIV/AIDS Vaccine Completely Clears HIV Virus In Monkeys
Here's a big breakthrough in HIV/AIDS vaccine research!
An HIV/AIDS vaccine candidate developed by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University appears to have the ability to completely clear an AIDS-causing virus from the body. The promising vaccine candidate is being developed at OHSU's Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute . It is being tested through the use of a non-human primate form of HIV, called simian immunodeficiency virus, or SIV, which causes AIDS in monkeys. Following further development, it is hoped an HIV-form of the vaccine candidate can soon be tested in humans.
"To date, HIV infection has only been cured in a very small number of highly-publicized but unusual clinical cases in which HIV-infected individuals were treated with anti-viral medicines very early after the onset of infection or received a stem cell transplant to combat cancer," said Louis Picker, M.D., associate director of the OHSU Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute. "This latest research suggests that certain immune responses elicited by a new vaccine may also have the ability to completely remove HIV from the body."
While we encourage you to head over to Science Daily for the detailed breakdown, we'll give you the overview as we understand it.
Basically researchers have paired SIV (the monkey form of HIV) with CMV (a common virus amongst the population called cytomegalovirus).
This combined SIV/CMV generates "effector memory" T-cells that are indefinitely capable of finding and destroying SIV-infected cells.
With that in mind, monkeys are being given this SIV/CMV vaccine and then are given "highly pathogenic" SIV. 50 percent of these monkeys became infected with SIV but over time eliminated all traces of SIV from their bodies.
As Science Daily sums it up: "In effect, the hunters of the body were provided with a much better targeting system and better weapons to help them find and destroy an elusive enemy."
Pretty huge and VERY promising!
Researchers are hopeful that pairing their modified CMV vector with HIV will lead to a similar result in humans. They're also trying to figure out how to ensure that more monkeys have a positive response to the vaccine.
The full study was published in the journal Nature on Sept. 11.
Thoughts on this HIV breakthrough, Instincters?