The hunt for an HIV/AIDS vaccine has been ongoing for about as long as we have known that HIV, a retrovirus, causes the syndrome of conditions collectively known as AIDS. There was some logical evidence that inducing protective immunity against this virus should be possible – the existence of some people who were apparently immune from the disorder, others that progressed slowly – but despite billions invested to date, the trials of lead candidate vaccines have all failed.
Yesterday, however, researchers have announced the qualified success of an HIV trial conducted over 6 years in Thailand. The vaccine, known as RV 144 – a combination of two vaccines which were deemed failures when administered on their own – appears to have provided some protection – it reduced the infection rate by about one third. One third reduction is obviously far from the kind of protection we are more accustomed to with other vaccines, but it is a start. These findings represent more of a proof of concept – HIV vaccination is possible – than a breakthroughs that will lead to commercial production of a vaccine anytime soon. Lots of questions remain – like why these vaccines failed on their own but seemed to work together – but it is a start.
You can read more about the trial from IAVI here.Share on Facebook