Scientists at the La Jolla Institute for immunology reached a significant breakthrough in HIV treatment. They discovered the most efficient method of delivering HIV vaccines. The study was published in the journal Cell on May 9, 2019. The lead author of the paper, Shane Crotty, expressed his belief that his team’s research determines the best way to deliver an HIV immunization in future clinical trials.
The strategy is mainly based on immune cell teamwork, which means that, when a threat enters the human organism, immune cells work together to combat it. B cells travel to germinal centers, then T follicular cells select B cells that are most suitable to make antibodies that can fight the pathogen.
Kimberly Cirelli, one of the researchers that worked on the study, compared our immune system to physical training. You start off weak and keep training to become stronger.
Scientists Discovered A Better Strategy To Fight HIV
HIV can be fought by antibodies that bind themselves to the virus. Unfortunately, B and T cells are often tricked, as the virus has many decoy sites on its outer shell that confuse the immune system, so the wrong places of the virus get attacked. In result, the antibodies fail to combat the threat.
Researchers experimented three different vaccine dosage strategies on rhesus monkeys, which have immune systems that resemble ours the most. The first strategy was a traditional vaccine, the second one was a slowly-releasing pill, and the third one was giving the monkeys partial doses of the vaccine over several days.
The traditional vaccine was a fail, resulting in a large number of non-neutralizing antibodies. The slow release pills were a success, creating more stronger antibodies. The multiple dosage immunization also gave good results, as it seems that administering small doses of the vaccine over multiple days builds up a stronger immune response than vaccinating the patient with the entire dose at once.
Scientists concluded that the most effective HIV treatment could be slow release pills, which are more comfortable for both patients and health providers.