HIV Vaccine On The Horizon With New Breakthrough

HIV drugs may also one day become lifesaving drugs targeted at parasitic diseases such as leishmaniasis and malaria, say scientists.

An HIV vaccine may be in the works since researchers at Melbourne University have identified antibodies in a recent breakthrough, a new study reports.

The study, which looked at 100 people with HIV, showed that the antibodies were successful enough in suppressing the virus that the virus had to mutate around them.

Ideally, if these antibodies are given to healthy people, they could prevent the virus.

According to Stephen Kent, senior author of the study, developing a vaccine is “the holy grail” of research into HIV.

The Age quoted Kent as saying, ''In Australia we treat people with drugs that restore the immune system, but unfortunately that's not an option in many parts of the world [due to cost] so it's important that we prevent this infection.

''We've been working on this problem for over 10 years and the vaccines we've tried in the past have induced some immune responses but they have not been very effective. We think we know why now; we think we were inducing the wrong immune responses. If we can use this knowledge to induce the right immune responses, we hope to really knock this on the head.''

Kent and his colleagues were very surprised to see that the virus mutated around these antibodies. He says if the virus was caught with the antibodies before it began to replicate, it would give the immune system a head start and possibly prevent it from occurring.

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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