Phase I Clinical Trial of HIV Vaccine Proves Effective

May, 2021 - By SMI

Phase I Clinical Trial of HIV Vaccine Proves Effective

Researchers reveal that a phase I clinical trial confirms that the first stage of a novel approach to vaccination is effective and can work against HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus).

A team of researchers from Scripps Research Institute, U.S. have stepped towards developing a vaccine that is assumed to protect people against HIV. Researchers reported that the strategy would involve a series of vaccinations. The vaccinations would activate and develop a rare type of immune cell, which would produce antibodies. The antibodies would target the weak spot on the outer surface of the virus (HIV).

Human immunodeficiency virus weakens the immune system of an individual progressively and destroys and impairs the function of the immune cells. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), HIV have claimed around 33 million lives so far and at the end of 2019 almost 38 million are living with HIV, across the globe. Although, highly effective antiviral treatments are available for HIV, but individuals living with HIV must take antiviral treatments for the rest of their life. Despite various researches, scientists so far have not been able to develop an effective vaccine against HIV.

HIV uses S protein or spike protein on its outer surface to enter into the host cell. HIV has different strains due to rapid mutations of genes that make the spike. Researchers have found out that it is difficult to access parts of the spike which naturally do not change. Neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) bind to these regions and target wide variety of HIV strains. Generally, people with HIV do not generate these antibodies naturally. Moreover, according to the study conducted by Mr. William Schief, a professor and immunologist at the Scripps Research Institute, and his team of researchers, a naïve B cell, a rare type of immune cell, can develop B cells that are capable of producing bnAbs against HIV. However, Mr. William Schief revealed that only 1 in a million of naïve B cells can produce bnAbs.

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