Hope in Africa as HIV vaccine shows promising results

An estimated 37 million people live with HIV  AIDS according to the World Health Organization

An estimated 37 million people live with HIV AIDS according to the World Health

A new study published on Friday in the Lancet showed that an experimental, preventive HIV-1 vaccine regimen was well-tolerated and generated comparable and robust immune responses against HIV in healthy adults and rhesus monkeys.

All of the vaccines prompted anti-HIV immune responses in the participants, the results revealed. It was also able to protect monkeys from an infection with an HIV-like virus.

As of June 2018, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were an estimated 38,500 new HIV infections in 2015 in the United States.

The aim of the study was to see whether the vaccine was safe, and whether people who received it still showed signs of the vaccine working after a year.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization and UNAIDS estimated that there were about 36.7 million people who were living with HIV worldwide at the end of 2016.

Despite the fact that treatment of HIV with each passing year it becomes more effective still vaccine against this virus and the therapy was only in the dreams of doctors and patients.

In a parallel study, the researchers assessed the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of the same Ad26-based mosaic vaccine regimens in 72 rhesus monkeys using a series repeated challenges with simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) - a virus similar to HIV that infects monkeys.

"This study demonstrates that the mosaic Ad26/Ad26 plus gp140 vaccine candidate induced robust and comparable immune responses in human and monkeys", said Barouch, who is also Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Study participants in the APPROACH trial were taken from 12 clinics located in east Africa, South Africa, Thailand and the USA.

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Researchers have since launched a phase two trial involving 2,600 participants in southern Africa to continue testing how safe and effective the HIV-1 vaccine is. Despite all the advances we have had with HIV, we need a vaccine.

A promising HIV vaccine has just emerged.

Dr Brady added that in the meantime there were already tools that were effective for preventing the disease from spreading, such as contraception and treatments for HIV-positive people that prevent them from passing on the virus.

Dr Michael Brady, medical director at the Terrence Higgins Trust, said it was early days for the vaccine but the signs were "promising".

Previous HIV-1 vaccine candidates have typically been limited to specific regions of the world.

Based on the results from phase 1 and phase 2a clinical trials that involved almost 400 healthy adults in Rwanda, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda and the United States, a phase 2b trial has been initiated in southern Africa to determine the safety and efficacy of the HIV-1 vaccine candidate in 2,600 women at risk for acquiring HIV. It's unclear whether it would provide protection in humans.

More than 80% of people who received this version also showed positive signs for 2 other measures of immune response. "Healthy" means that they were not infected by HIV.

Despite the relatively good results from the human and animal trials, the researchers are careful not to be too confident in the potential vaccine. Partly because there are so many different HIV strains.

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