Scientists in the United States of America are set to develop an HIV vaccine made of the virus itself.
According to the team at â€˜VIRxSYSâ€™ of Maryland, they plan to begin to inject people with the proposed HIV vaccine, albeit a deactivated version, after fetching successful tests of a similar vaccine against SIV â€” simian HIV â€” in monkeys.
A report in the New Scientist says it has been demonstrated that VRX1023 bears the ability to control viral load over the course of four months following a challenge with a pathogenic simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV).
In addition, the scientists posted that the vaccine candidate achieved high levels of T-cell responses, outlining a 95 per cent decrement of viral load in Rhesus monkeys which received lentiviral vaccination, as compared to non-vaccinated control animals in this study.
Franck Lemiale, Director of Immunology at VIRxSYS, said, â€œWe are encouraged by the results of this study. The combination of strong immune responses, viral control, and CD4 preservation is tremendousâ€.
The idea is to resurrect the controversial approach which was dismissed in the case of HIV; where vaccines against many viruses are made from deactivated versions of those viruses.
â€œWe said â€˜letâ€™s use HIV against itselfâ€™, and thatâ€™s what weâ€™re doingâ€, New Scientist quoted Gary McGarrity, VIRxSYSâ€™s Vice President of scientific and clinical affairs, as saying.
Describing how they vaccinated monkeys, and then six months later injected them with SIV, VIRxSYS researchers said, â€œWithin weeks of receiving the injection of SIV, concentrations of the virus had fallen by at least 95 per cent in those treated. After a year, when the trial ended, these concentrations remained low, whereas untreated monkeys became progressively sicker as their immune systems were depleted by the virusâ€.