HIV Vaccine Researchers Could Get Clues From New Study
Scientists are taking steps toward creating an HIV vaccine for humans, and a new study sheds light on what could defeat the virus that causes AIDS.
In the study, published in the Jan. 4 issue of the journal Nature, researchers treated rhesus monkeys with a vaccine that protects them from SIV, the monkey version of HIV. They then infected the monkeys with a hard-to-treat strain of SIV that differed from the one in the vaccine.
The best vaccine was made of an adenovirus prime and modified-pox-virus boost, Nature.com reports. It was 80 percent effective in preventing the monkeys from contracting the virus after a single exposure.
The team of researchers led by Dan Barouch, a virologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, continued exposing the monkeys to SIV in one-week intervals, and eventually most of the monkeys contracted the virus. However, those that had received the vaccine had a significantly lower amount of SIV in their blood than their unvaccinated counterparts.
The findings will prove invaluable as scientists work to develop an HIV vaccine for humans. “They give us a blueprint for how we should move forward in vaccines to test and what kinds of responses we hope they’ll induce,” said Barouch, according to Nature.com.