Experimental HIV vaccine shows huge success in Phase 1 human trials
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An experimental HIV vaccine has shown groundbreaking results during a Phase 1 trials.
Researchers from Scripps Research, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, the National Institutes of Health and other institutions in the US and Sweden have seen tremendous success during a vaccine trial.
According to the research paper published in Science, researchers were able to induce broadly neutralizing antibodies to combat the virus.
The trial was tested on two groups of 48 adults aged 18 to 50.
Thirty-six participants were administered two low or high doses of the vaccine, which were given two months apart.
The other group acted as the control group, receiving a saline placebo.
Researchers then proceeded to analyze the immune cells from the blood and lymph nodes of participants while specifically looking at B cells - a type of white blood cell that generates antibodies in the immune system - and how they responded to the injection.
The results found that after the vaccine, 97 per cent of the group who received low or high doses had HIV-specific broadly neutralizing antibodies.
It was also discovered that those who received a higher dosage produced significantly more neutralizing antibodies.
While in the other group, two participants who were given the saline solution had HIV antibodies.
It remains unclear why this was; however, researchers concluded that these participants could have some natural immunity toward the virus.
Furthermore, those with antibodies did not experience severe effects such as fatigue, headaches or body aches.
As antibodies have been extremely difficult to be elicited by a vaccine, Vice Dean for research and program director in HIV medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Timothy Schacker, told CNN that this trial is an ‘important step forward’.
Co-director of the Center for AIDS Research at Emory University and executive associate dean for Emory School of Medicine at Grady Health System, Carlos del Rio, told the outlet that although the vaccine is a while off, the results are ‘exciting’.
He said: “We know that broadly neutralizing antibodies are a potentially effective strategy to prevent HIV.
“We’re far from using this as a vaccine, but this is very exciting science. … Investing in this kind of research is critically important in not only developing a vaccine for HIV, but if this strategy works, it can be used for other vaccines.”
According to HIV gov, around 38.4 million people are currently living with the virus.
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