Scientists announced Saturday that they had already piloted an experimental HIV vaccine, which triggered an immune reaction in lab animals and successfully immunized monkeys from the infection. The potential development of this HIV vaccine, which is entirely safe for humans, is quite promising, and the next phase would be to test it on 2,600 women in southern Africa.
“These results represent an important step for the development of this HIV vaccine,” said the study’s leading author Dan Barouch, but he cautioned that there is no assurance that the upcoming tests in humans would be as successful as the trials on lab animals. “We must be prudent,” he added before stating that 2/3 of the lab animals were immunized in laboratory tests.
According to scientists, this is the 5th HIV vaccine concept created in 35 years. Also, the scientists stressed that the trials in humans would end between 2021 and 2022.
This new HIV vaccine showed positive results in preliminary trials in lab animals and humans
About nine years ago, another HIV vaccine, RV144, also showed positive results in initial experiments carried out on 16,000 volunteers in Thailand. RV144 showed only a 31.2% reduction in the risk of infection in the tested subjects.
Comparatively, the new HIV vaccine yielded better immunization rate and virtually no side effects. The study, published yesterday, was conducted on about 400 HIV-negative adults from the United States, Thailand, East Africa, and South Africa, but also on 72 lab monkeys. Only five humans presented mild side effects, such as dizziness and diarrhea, while 2/3 of the 72 lab animals presented 100% immunization against HIV.
“It’s probably not the definitive HIV vaccine, but it could be a phenomenal breakthrough,” said Jean-Daniel Lelievre from the French Vaccine Research Institute, who also pointed out that, at best, this research will come up with a 100% working vaccine in about ten years from now.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 40 million people around the world are HIV-positive, while about 2 million people are getting HIV, every year. Thus, an HIV vaccine is needed badly.