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Major Medical Breakthrough: Scientist Find Vaccine That Completely Kills the AIDS Virus in Monkeys

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Major Breakthrough: Scientist Find Vaccine That Completely Kills the AIDS Virus in Monkeys

Oregon Health and Science University researchers have reported a major breakthrough in the field of HIV research.  They claim that they have created a vaccine that completely eradicates the virus that causes AIDS in some monkeys.

As you would have guessed, they are now looking to move forward with testing the vaccine on humans.

Their research, which was published in the journal Nature, showed that half of the monkeys they tested responded to the vaccine.  The monkeys were infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), which is similar to HIV in humans, but 100 times more deadly.

“It’s always tough to claim eradication — there could always be a cell which we didn’t analyze that has the virus in it,” Louis Picker, of the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute at OHSU, told the BBC News. “But for the most part, with very stringent criteria … there was no virus left in the body of these monkeys.”

According to Discovery News, Picker and his team created the vaccine by using a modified version of a common – though mostly harmless – virus called cytomegalovirus (CMV).  When the CMV was exposed to the SIV, it prompted the monkey’s white blood cells to respond and attack the SIV.

Of the monkeys who responded to the vaccine, they were still SIV-free up to three years later.

“Through this method, we were able to teach the monkey’s body to better ‘prepare its defenses’ to combat the disease,” Picker said in a press release.

While the researchers are still trying to determine why some monkeys did not successfully respond to the vaccine, they are hopeful that this technique could work in humans.

They could potentially start clinical trials in humans in the next two years.