HIV vaccine on horizon as jab triggers immunity in humans and stops monkeys being infected

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“We eagerly await the results of the phase 2b Imbokodo’, which will determine whether or not this vaccine will protect humans against acquiring HIV.”

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"Scientists cautiously optimistic about HIV vaccine candidate"

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"I would say that we are pleased with these data so far, but we have to interpret the data cautiously," said study co-author Dr. Dan H. Barouch, a principal investigator on the study, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research. "We have to acknowledge that developing an HIV vaccine is an unprecedented challenge, and we will not know for sure whether this vaccine will protect humans."

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"There is no cure for HIV—but scientists may be getting closer"

"But in the latest report presented this month at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston, researchers revealed the strongest evidence yet that these latent viruses can be activated and eliminated, at least in animals. In a study involving a form of HIV that infects monkeys, Dr. Dan Barouch and his colleagues at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School showed that a drug that stimulates the immune system and activates the dormant HIV, combined with a powerful antibody that can neutralize the HIV-infected cells, prevented HIV from surging back in five of 11 animals, six months after they stopped taking ARVs. In the monkeys whose HIV did return, the virus levels were 100 times lower than they were in animals that were not treated at all.

I think our data raises the possibility that an intervention achieving a functional cure is possible,” says Barouch. “It shows a level of potential efficacy, at least in animals, that to the best of my knowledge hasn’t been seen before.”

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