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New HIV vaccine tested on humans

New HIV vaccine tested on humans

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.

Meant to provide broad protection from the many strains of HIV that are prevalent worldwide, the "mosaic" vaccine contains a patchwork of genetic sequences found among various HIV strains.

For the experiment, the researchers recruited 393 healthy (non-HIV infected) adults ranging in age from 18 to 50 from 12 clinics in East Africa, South Africa, Thailand, and the United States.

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. But this piece of research was created to test the vaccine's safety and effectiveness at the most basic level.

Inventing a vaccine has proved an enormous challenge for scientists, in part because there are so many strains of the virus, but also because HIV is adept at mutating to elude attack from our immune systems. According to the study authors, the vaccine produced "robust (high levels of) immune responses" in the participants.

About 37 million people worldwide live with HIV or Aids, and there are an estimated 1.8 million new cases every year. A safe and effective preventative vaccine is urgently needed to curb the HIV pandemic.

A team of Harvard-led scientists is seeing positive results after testing a multi-strain HIV vaccine - dubbed the "mosaic" - in humans.

Some researchers explain that the vaccine is not a solution to the virus, which even if it induces an immune response to HIV, it can not prevent humans from getting the virus.

Asked for his opinion, Robert Gallo, MD, co-founder and director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said that there are probably seven or eight studies of HIV vaccines going on right now, and the real question is obviously will be what the efficacy trials of this vaccine will say.

It has also helped to protect monkeys from the virus similar to HIV.

Comparatively, the new HIV vaccine yielded better immunization rate and virtually no side effects.

In the near four decades since the start of the Aids crisis, this is only the fifth experimental vaccine that has progressed to a stage where it can be tested on humans.

In the meantime, the vaccine will be tested on women in South Africa, who are most at risk of contracting the virus.

While these results are not ideal, they "represent an important milestone", Harvard professor, Dan Barouch, said.

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.

This study was funded by Janssen Vaccines & Prevention BV and the National Institutes of Health (OD024917, AI068618, AI078526, AI096040, AI124377, AI126603, AI128751, TR001102), the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, and a cooperative agreement (W81XWH-07-2-0067) between the Henry M Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine and the US Department of Defense. "But the data is promising and we are happy to report the immune response".

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