The quest for an HIV Vaccine has been a long and difficult road for both researchers and individuals suffering from the virus. As of now, there is no vaccine that can prevent an individual from contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Researchers have taken several different approaches to developing a successful HIV vaccine, with varying degrees of success. One of the factors that make the development of an effective vaccine so difficult is that HIV behaves differently than other viruses. Is able to quickly adapt to medications which is why the most patients take as many as four different drugs to combat the virus.
The vaccines in use today to combat other viruses copy the natural immunity which is gained after an infection. Individuals that are infected by a virus, such as the flu virus, develop a natural immunity to the virus which protects them from reinfection. Since there are virtually no individuals who have recovered from AIDS, this particular means of developing an HIV vaccine is extremely difficult. The majority of vaccines on the market use live attenuated organisms or ones that have been wholly killed. This particular approach does not work with HIV since there are serious safety concerns with using a live retrovirus and the dead virus has no antigenicity.
The quest for an HIV vaccine has made some very real progress over the last few years, however. For instance, researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed what is known as a mosaic vaccine which they believe is capable of helping the human body’s immune system to respond to HIV despite its ability to mutate. Tests have found that the mosaic vaccine is capable of greatly increasing the immune responses in lab animals such as monkeys and mice. Spurred by donations from different foundations, researchers are hoping to begin human trials of this type of vaccine sometime in late 2012.
The Maryland School of Medicine has also developed a vaccine which has been shown to produce strong antibody responses across the different strains of HIV. These researchers are currently in the process of evaluating the safety of this vaccine for humans and its ability to elicit a response from the immune systems in humans. With proper funding, the quest for an HIV vaccine may finally find success in the near future. Researchers and scientists have spent the last 20 years trying to understand and combat the virus and there is hope from many of the top experts in the field that we may finally eradicate HIV once and for all.
Source by Alain Lafeuillade
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