God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

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HIV vaccine completes phase I trial

The time-course of an immune response begins w...

The time-course of an immune response begins with the initial pathogen encounter, (or initial vaccination) and leads to the formation and maintenance of active immunological memory. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes there are good news one comes across while doing the early morning snatch on news on the internet  – news which just give this ray of hope. This one is certainly giving this ray of hope, even if success is still in the dark and not guaranteed. It’s about a vaccine, called SAV001-H, the result of a collaboration between Western University in London, Ontario, and Sumagen Canada Inc. In a randomized, observer-blinded, placebo-controlled study, the team examined the vaccine’s safety, tolerability and immune responses in HIV-positive adults between the ages of 18 and 50. And guess what: no significant adverse side effects discovered during trial period and researchers found that, following vaccination, the antibody against HIV’s p24 capsid antigen increased by a factor as great as 64 and the antibody against the virus’s gp120 surface antigen rose up to eightfold. These levels remained raised throughout the year-long study period.

This is good news on several layers: First of all there are people out there working on a vaccine and don’t give up. Second there will be now trial phase II. And there is an invitation attached: “We are opening the gate to pharmaceutical companies, government and charity organization for collaboration to be one step closer to the first commercialized HIV vaccine”, so Jung-Gee Cho, CEO of Sumagen.

Well, let’s support such efforts by all means possible.  And if one is interested to read more on the subject click here.

Filed under: HIV Prevention, HIV Treatment, Medical and Research, , , , , , , ,

POZ: Newly Discovered Antibody Kills Up to 91 Percent of HIV Strains

U.S. government scientists have discovered three potent new antibodies, one of which can neutralize up to 91 percent of all HIV strains. These discoveries were published online July 8 in Science and were reported by The Wall Street Journal. Though the scientists acknowledge that their findings represent a hopeful step forward, they caution that it will take a lot of time and effort before they can be translated into something that will prevent or treat HIV infection.

Antibodies are a key element in the immune system that our body uses to defend itself from bacteria and viruses. Antibodies kill these microbes directly or flag the foreign invaders for destruction by other immune cells. Unfortunately, HIV’s outer surface is so easily changeable that antibodies—most of which can neutralize only a few strains—fail to keep it in check. This has made designing a vaccine, which works by provoking the body to produce antibodies, such a frustrating endeavor.

Following a string of failures in vaccine science, researchers have turned in recent years to a search for broadly neutralizing antibodies, which can kill multiple strains of HIV. Several have been identified, but none have been able to neutralize more than 40 percent of HIV strains, and all were quite difficult for the body to produce naturally.

The Wall Street Journal reports that, “The [new] antibodies were discovered in the cells of a 60-year-old African-American gay man, known in the scientific literature as Donor 45, whose body made the antibodies naturally. Researchers screened 25 million of his cells to find 12 that produced the antibodies.”

It’s not yet clear whether or how these new antibodies can be used to prevent and treat HIV. Researchers will focus on several possibilities. One approach entails giving the antibodies directly to people, specifically in cases to prevent transmission from mothers to their babies. Other approaches range from building traditional vaccines with the antibodies, to the developing gene therapies.
Whichever strategy is most promising, it will likely take some time before it is available. Gary Nabel, MD, PhD—one of the leaders of the studies and a director of the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland—told the Journal, “We’re going to be at this for a while” before any benefit is seen in the clinic.

Source: http://www.poz.com/rssredir/articles/HIV_neutralizing_antibody_761_18701.shtml

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HIV Treatment, Medical and Research, , ,

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