HIV-1 vaccine human trial shows promise

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An experimental HIV vaccine showed promise of protecting healthy adults from contracting the deadly virus that killed millions of people in the past years.

This new "mosaic" vaccine is still in its early stages, but if it passes the different trials, it will go a long way in offering protection to people around the world.

The experimental vaccine which is called as HIV 1 vaccine was seemed to be effective among humans, this previous experimental vaccine was having the disadvantage as this was only effective in certain areas of the world. The combinations in the vaccine were safe to the human body and all produced an anti-HIV response. The main agenda was to target the immune responses generated by the diverse variety of HIV virus strains.

For the latest study, published in The Lancet medical journal, Barouch and a team tested the candidate drug on 393 healthy, HIV-free adults aged 18 to 50 in east Africa, South Africa, Thailand, and the United States.

BBC News reported on the study Saturday, noting that there are now over 37 million people living with HIV/AIDS around the globe, and the number increases by 1.8 million every year.

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HIV-1 is the most common form of the virus, while HIV-2 is relatively uncommon and less infectious.

Susan Buchbinder, MD, of the University of California San Francisco, one of the co-chairs of the ongoing phase IIb efficacy trial for this vaccine, explained that the results of the non-human primate study were used to help select the most appropriate candidate for the vaccine in humans.

Both participants and researchers were "blinded" to what they'd been given, which meant the results should not have been affected by people making decisions based on what they thought their vaccination status was.

"The main challenges facing the development of an HIV vaccine are scientific", said Linda-Gail Bekker, Ph.D.

Indeed, the NHP 13-19 study of 72 rhesus monkeys assigned one of five vaccine regimens or placebo found that Ad26/Ad26 plus gp140 not only induced similar types of immune responses in humans, but 67% protection against acquisition of SHIV (two-sided Fisher's exact test P=0.007).

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Finding a vaccine to fight HIV is considered a priority by health agencies worldwide. We thank the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and the generous support of USAID and other donors; a full list of IAVI donors is available online.

This study was supported by Janssen Vaccines & Prevention BV and the NIH, the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, and a cooperative agreement between the Henry M Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine and the US Department of Defense. They also note that there is no definitive immunological measurement that is known to predict protection against HIV-1 in humans. New vaccine concepts and vectors are in development and can progress to efficacy trials, which is an important process since development of an AIDS vaccine remains urgent. "But the data is promising and we are happy to report the immune response".

Based on the results from this phase 1/2a clinical trial that involved almost 400 healthy adults, a phase 2b trial has been initiated in southern Africa to determine the safety and efficacy of the HIV-1 vaccine candidate in 2,600 women at risk for acquiring HIV.

The hope is that it could offer much better protection against the nearly unlimited number of HIV strains found across the world.

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