Sunday, 8 July 2018

AIDS Vaccine Passes Key Early Test

Scientists have announced that a candidate AIDS vaccine that has triggered an immune response in humans and protected the monkeys from infection, has passed its key early test.

The AIDS vaccine, a product of 40 years of AIDS research, has been shown to be safe for humans and has now reached the next phase of the pre-approval process. It will now be tested in 2,600 women in southern Africa to see if it prevents HIV infection.

Although tests have so far been encouraging, the research team and outside experts have stated that there is no guarantee that this will work in the next test phase called HVTN705 or "Imbokodo" - the word isiZulu for "rock".

"Although this data is promising, we must remain cautious," said AFP head of study Dan Barouch, a professor at Harvard Medical School.

Simply protecting two-thirds of the monkeys in a laboratory does not mean that the drug will protect humans, "so we have to wait for the results of the study before knowing if this vaccine will protect humans from being infected with HIV. HIV., "He said.

The team also revealed that the results of the Imbokodo trial are expected in 2021/22.

"Only the fifth HIV vaccine concept will be tested for efficacy in humans in the 35-year history of the global HIV epidemic," added Barouch.

Only one so far, RV144, has given some protection. RV144 was reported in 2009 to reduce the risk of HIV infection by 31.2% among 16,000 Thai volunteers - considered insufficient for the drug to be continued.

For the latest study, published in the medical journal The Lancet, Barouch and a team tested the drug candidate on 393 healthy, HIV-free adults ages 18 to 50 in East Africa, South Africa, Thailand and in the United States. Participants randomly received one of seven vaccine combinations or a "dummy" placebo alternative. They received four shots each for 48 weeks.

The study used combinations of so-called "mosaic" vaccines. These combine pieces of different types of HIV virus to trigger an immune response - when the body attacks intruding germs - against viral strains from different parts of the world.

The vaccine "has induced robust immune responses (high levels of) in humans," said Barouch. The tests also showed that the vaccine was safe. Five participants reported side effects such as stomach pain and diarrhea, dizziness or back pain.

In a separate study, the same vaccine provided complete protection against infection in two-thirds of the 72 test monkeys, each receiving six injections with an HIV-like virus.

An estimated 37 million people are living with HIV / AIDS, according to the World Health Organization. There are approximately 1.8 million new infections and one million deaths each year. Nearly 80 million people have been infected since the beginning of the diagnosis of the virus in the early 1980s. About 35 million died.

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