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HIV Vaccine Awareness Day: We Aren't There Yet, But Are We Close?

MAY 18, 2017 | KRISTI ROSA
A phase 2b/3 HIV vaccine efficacy trial, called HVTN 702, was launched by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and others in 2016—the first HIV efficacy trial in 7 years. The aim of the study is to test if a vaccine regimen can effectively provide adults with adequate protection against the virus.

Another approach being taken in this space focuses on inciting the immune system to create broadly neutralizing antibodies. Last year, two multinational clinical trials, dubbed the AMP Studies, were launched to test “an investigational anti-HIV broadly neutralizing antibody” for preventing infection with the virus. The goal of these trials? To test how “safe, effective, and tolerable” giving individuals “a broadly neutralizing HIV antibody as an intravenous infusion every 8 weeks” is.

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences have taken their efforts in a different direction in an attempt to reach the same end goal. The researchers developed a strategy that focuses on “boosting the parts of the immune system attacking viral genes, which are the least active during infection.” According to a recent press release, this could work to prolong the “resistance of the immune system to the virus.” The results yielded by their recent study suggest that this strategy might ultimately be used to prevent infection with HIV as well as other infectious diseases.

There are many obstacles that scientists face in this fight, but with each new study, more knowledge is added to the arsenal, which brings scientists that much closer to reaching their long-sought-after goal. 
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