Cure for HIV could be on the horizon now. A human trial was conducted to test a new immune drug capable of protecting people against HIV infections. This trial has led to a 97 per cent success rate. Scientists at Scripps Research in San Diego, California confirm this.
Cure For HIV Under Development
The trial has been very promising. So much that vaccine giant Moderna has agreed to join the next stage of the development of the drug. It’s capable of stimulating a rare set of immune cells. These cells play a key role in fighting the fast-mutating human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
The drug sets off the production of some very specific immune cells. These cells are able to generate antibodies capable of resisting HIV. IAVI, a non-profit research organisation confirms this. IAVI is also involved in the financing and development of the Scripps Research trial. Apparently, 97 per cent of the 48 healthy adult volunteers who were given the vaccine produced the HIV-resistant cells.
So far, HIV has always managed to elude vaccines. That’s because it attacks the immune system directly. Additionally, it has proved to be extremely efficient in evading immune defenses throughout the entire body
However, the Scripps researchers stressed this trial demonstrates “proof of principle for a new vaccine concept for HIV. A concept that could be applied to other pathogens, as well”. According to William Schief, a professor and immunologist at Scripps Research and executive director of vaccine design at IAVI’s Neutralizing Antibody Centre–
“We showed that vaccines can be designed to stimulate rare immune cells with specific properties, and this targeted stimulation can be very efficient in humans.”
Ever since HIV first emerged as a pandemic in the early 1980s, scientists have been trying to outsmart the notorious virus. Even though nowadays the virus can be controlled through medication, a lasting and definite solution in the form of a vaccine has so far never been produced, particularly since it easily mutates into different strains.
As a result of the rapid mutation, HIV has millions of different strains. Therefore, antibodies against one strain are unlikely to neutralize any others. “So HIV is not really one virus,” Schief explained to Medical News Today yesterday. “It’s really like 50m different viruses around the world right now.”
However, results from the Scripss Research human trial showed the body is fact capable of producing cells that can not only halt and fend off HIV, but they can do so for a range of different variants.
Scripps Research said the next step would be an additional clinical trial, in partnership with Moderna, which has agreed to produce a so-called mRNA version of the vaccine, “a step that could lead to faster vaccine availability”, Scripps Research clarified in its statement.