Is This The Secret To An HIV Vaccine?
A recent study out of the Oregon Health & Science University
may have huge implications for the health world. In a small study of monkeys, it appears that a vaccine was partially successful in protecting the primates from contracting simian immunodeficiency virus, a close cousin to HIV.
Of the 18 monkeys that received the vaccine, nine of them were resistant to SIV when infected. So, while this vaccine isn't perfect, it's a HUGE step that half of the monkeys survived.
The vaccine created specialized T-cells that essentially hunted down the viruses in the monkeys' tissues and eliminated them, functioning as both a protection and a cure. After a couple years Dr. Louis J. Picker, the author of this study, couldn't tell the monkeys who had had the vaccine and SIV apart from healthy monkeys who were never been infected
. They were completely healed.
Although it will take up to three years to develop a vaccine for human trials, researchers are optimistic that this vaccine could both be used as a multi-faceted defense against contracting HIV and also as a treatment for those already infected and on antiretroviral drugs. And, though treatments that work for monkeys don't always translate to humans, this is still an exciting and important step forward, for AIDS research. (The New York Times
Image: Via The New York Times