Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Frontline attack against HIV infection is closer to reality

There has been significant progress in the development of a vaccination to prevent HIV infection. Researchers have shown that a combined approach of using a common cold virus to introduce a virus into the body and an injection of a DNA-based vaccine can help the immune system protect against HIV in the gut and bodily cavities.

Laboratory studies have been conducted in mice so far and have been published in Nature. In the studies led by researcher Professor Eric Gowans from University’s Discipline of Surgery, based at the Basil Hetzel Institute, mice were given rhinovirus inside the nose that had been altered to incorporate HIV proteins, and then an injection into the skin that contains DNA-based vaccine. The vaccine aims at protecting the parts of the body that are more likely to encounter the virus first, and in this case they would be parts of the body involved in sexual activities.

The vaccine approach addresses two different parts of the immune response: white blood cells that attack the virus and also specific antibodies that attack HIV-positive cells. In the mice studies, it was found that infections were considerably reduced and further testing needs to be done for this specific approach to an HIV vaccine.

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