Wednesday, February 22, 2017

13 person HIV vaccine trial

IrsiCaixa AIDS Researhc Insisiute, with support from Obra Social “la Caixa,” the Department of Health of the Generalitat de Catalunya, and Fight AIDS Foundation have seemed to have found “a functional cure” for HIV. The trial is small (with five successful subjects) and does not have a control group.

The trial has shown that the developed vaccine can boost the immune system enough to allow infected people to regulate the levels of HIV enough to bring the viral load down. The way Mothe, the clinician who presented the results described it is as,”re-[educating] our T cells to control the virus.”

From the 13 people that started in this study, which consisted of of antiretroviral therapy followed by a tripartite shot regimen followed by a cease of the antiretroviral therapy, 5 of them were able to effectively maintain virus levels down from 6-28 weeks. However, in 8 of the 13 original subjects had the virus return after 4 weeks, which is usually the case. Compared to other vaccines, which have previously only managed to maintain 10% of subjects with controlled levels of virus, this 38% rate seems monumental. The main method employed by the vaccine had been through mechanisms to reeducate the host immune system to control the virus, while not on antiretroviral therapy.

The vaccine being developed in this trial claims to be successful due to the “highly conserved” internal structures and enzymes. Before the vaccine, only 4% of host cytotoxic T cells targeted these conserved proteins and enzymes and after the vaccine over 67% of cytotoxic T cells targeted conserved proteins and enzymes.

Gianna Nino-Tapias ('18)

- Cohen, J. “AIDS vaccine may be ‘functional cure’ for some. Web. Science (2017). Accessed 22 February 2017. <>

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