Until very recently, people thought that it is almost impossible to develop an HIV vaccine. Nonetheless at the moment it seems more possible than ever, even more, the clinical trials are already accepted to test the abilities of the vaccine.
Still it is important to know that these involve human testing and that they will take a while until the truth about the efficiency of the vaccine is proved.
The story of Canada and the vaccine for HIV
The first Canadian vaccine of this kind has been created at the University of Western Ontario. The difference between this vaccine and all the others is that this one is using a special technique that involves the entire human immunodeficiency virus. According to the first tests of the vaccine for HIV it is able to trigger immune responses that are strong. The vaccine got the name of SAV001.
Although the news seems to be too good to be true, you should know that the development of the vaccine is at an early stage. In the U. S. the FDA approved the testing of the HIV vaccine after it ensured that it isn’t dangerous for people in any way.
The trial will start this month and initially there will be 40 HIV positive people who test the vaccine.
According to the developers of the vaccine for HIV this is a very important milestone. This is because humankind is one step closer to finding a way to protect itself against HIV.
AIDS and HIV infection
This first phase of the trials will last for a year. The second and third stage of the trials of the HIV vaccine will take another four years and it will test the impact of the vaccine on the immune responses and it will also test the efficiency of the vaccine.
How effective is the vaccine?
This one of the vaccines has been created for the HIV type B. This strain is quite common in Australia, Europe and the Americas. In case the vaccine works out, the specialists will be able to create a vaccine for HIV for the other parts of the world as well.
Until this moment the vaccines that have been created were based on the virus’ subunits or they were based on genetically modified viruses that weren’t HIV, but had the sequences of the virus’ genes. The basis of this method used for the HIV vaccine was that the virus can be dangerous even in case it is inactivated, and in case it isn’t entirely inactivated, there is a big problem.
On the other hand in case of this vaccine for HIV the research team used a whole virus that has been genetically modified. The virus was inactivated through the use of radiations and chemicals.
The reason of this decision has been that the vaccines that have been created until now using subunits have been ineffective, and so the team focused on whole dead virus.
The vaccines from the same category as the HIV vaccine work for other infections, like flu, polio, hep B and rabies, so the team thought that the same concept may work in case of the retroviral viruses as well, and in this case – HIV. The vaccine has been tested on animals like rats and monkeys and in their case there have been no side effects.
The approach of the developers to this vaccine for HIV is very different from the other approaches. This is something good, because different approaches could bring researchers closer to the solution.
Nonetheless, when it comes to HIV vaccine the global results are quite elusive. Until now there has been only one vaccine, produced in Thailand, that was shown to have good immune responses in case of humans and even in this case the results have been modest.
How do vaccines work?
The main point of vaccines, just as the vaccine for HIV, is to work by arming the body against the effects of the virus and so it is easier for the body to produce the antibodies. The main difficulty in creating a vaccine is that HIV is a mutable virus and so it is difficult for the human body to develop antibodies that could fight such a wide range of HIV strains.
This latest project to find HIV vaccine is actually a joint venture between the university and a South Korean company handling biotechnology.