Vaccine for AIDS on the horizon?
A new development in sexual health and AIDS research may eventually lead to a vaccination that would prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS. Researchers published a report in the journal Nature outlining a number of experimental vaccines that were able to protect monkeys from a powerful strain of the virus, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The inoculated monkeys were found to be resistant to a virulent form of simian immunodeficiency virus, or SIV, which is very similar to HIV. Researchers hope that the vaccine could soon be developed for human testing.
The vaccines bring together two existing technologies that are able to generate an immune response to the disease. The preliminary testings were quite successful – the vaccine was able reduce the monkeys' chance of infection by 80 to 83 percent when compared to a placebo, the news source reports.
There were some slight setbacks, however. Protection from the illness diminished after several exposures to the disease. However, this was one of the first studies to find a way to prevent a strong SIV strain.
"HIV is progressively revealing its secrets and each time it gets us closer to the goal, but this isn't like a basketball game where it's the last two minutes," Bruce Walker, an HIV researcher at the Ragon Institute, told the news source.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. living with an HIV infection. Approximately one in five of those infected are unaware that they are carriers. There is no cure as of yet, so sexually active individuals should make sure to wear condoms and get tested regularly.