Science has played a major role in fighting against some of the dreaded diseases around the world. With curable vaccine available, doctors can treat their patient going through the life threatening disease. Unfortunately, few diseases are still out of reach to fight against, and one such is HIV. The most dreaded disease has taken millions of lives since its outbreak and the HIV vaccine is still out of reach. In 1984, US Department of Health and Human Services claimed to have a vaccine for HIV cure, but couldn’t find effective to conquer it.
Why is it difficult to get HIV Vaccine?
There are many obstacles in developing a vaccine for HIV. Vaccines for such diseases take long years, even polio vaccine took 47 years to be served. Some of the obstacles in developing HIV vaccines are:
- HIV virus copies itself into different versions
- There are different types of HIV and new ones keep forming
- Our Immune System fails to respond the virus
- The vaccine protects against disease, but not infection
Types of vaccines:
There are two types of vaccines, preventive and therapeutic. Preventive vaccines help your immune system to recognize the infection and fight against it. Therapeutic vaccines help in controlling infection. It helps the immune system to kill the HIV infected cells and prevent in multiplying further.
There are other few vaccines which are currently being worked upon:
- Peptide Vaccine- Uses small proteins from HIV triggering immune response
- Live Vector Vaccines- Uses non-HIV virus to carry HIV genes to trigger an immune response
- Virus like Particle Vaccines- Uses non-HIV virus having HIV proteins
Vaccine Testing and Trails:
Scientists working on creating the HIV cure perform different phases of tests. It takes years to come up with the vaccine for such harmful disease. There are three different stages of testing:
- Phase 1: Takes 12-18 months with healthy HIV Negative volunteers help researchers test safety
- Phase 2: Can take 2 years and hundreds of HIV negative volunteers help researchers during the test
- Phase 3: Takes 3-4 years and thousands of HIV negative volunteers are used for research purpose
Presently, the vaccine trial started in 2015 is International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) to study people in:
- South Africa
The trail uses combination strategy along with a second vaccine for boosting the immune system and the result is expected in 2019. There has been a test tube study, where rare antibodies work against HIV and have successfully monkeys against HIV.
What HIV Vaccine holds in the future?
As mentioned, there are various lab trails are under progress to come up with an effective HIV vaccine. According to a 2015 report, a total of $841 million has been spent AIDS Vaccine and may require more investment because of the regular failure in finding a solution.
With HIV/AIDS grabbing more and more people underneath, getting an active HIV vaccine to beat the infection would certainly work. It may take years to get the best vaccine, but with alternative treatments and prevention helps in bringing down the HIV patient count.
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