New trials for potential HIV vaccine show optimistic results

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Apr 07, 2021, 02:03 PM(IST)

An Indian nurse carries out tests for HIV/AIDS during an event to promote the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and unwanted pregnancies, through condom distribution and to create awareness towards safe sex in New Delhi on February 13, 2 Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

When HIV was discovered as the cause of AIDS in 1980s, scientists thought they would be able to develop a vaccine rapidly

New early stage data from a clinical trial suggests progress for a vaccine to fight against HIV.

The trials, conducted by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California may bring respite after 30 years of vaccine attempts against HIV, which is the virus responsible for causing AIDS if not treated.

To ascertain the true efficacy of any vaccine, larger studies will need to be undertaken. But experts are hopeful this vaccine will work.

When HIV was discovered as the cause of AIDS in 1980s, scientists thought they would be able to develop a vaccine rapidly. But that did not happen, for the virus mutates rapidly. In addition, the virus has multiple subtypes, implying that a vaccine developed for one subtype may not offer protection against the other.

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ABC cited the new research as attempting to bridge this gap by creating a vaccine capable of “broadly neutralising antibodies” by triggering the immune system of a person to develop protection against multiple variants.

The first trial is currently underway and involves 48 healthy adults who have received two doses of the vaccine or the placebo, with a gap of two months in between doses.

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Initial data paints an optimistic picture, for 97 per cent subjects showed promise for the immune system to create broad antibodies.

The new mRNA technology which was used by scientists to develop COVID-19 vaccines for companies like Moderna and Pfizer accelerated the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, and may also be used to create an HIV vaccine.

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