Is there a new AIDS vaccine on its way?
Friday, December 20, 2013
Scientists have discovered antibodies that can thwart the AIDS virus, and possibly lead to an HIV/AIDS vaccine. This discovery could possibly lead to a world without HIV/AIDS, said scientists at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative held in New Delhi.
A number of antibodies have been isolated from HIV-positive donors across the world, that are capable of blocking the effects of the deadly virus. Not everyone who is infected produces these antibodies, and the vaccine will ideally be made in such a way, that the HIV protein instructs the body to make these antibodies.
‘Scientists have mapped the structure of the protein that encases HIV’s critical genetic information, a development that could eventually lead to new drugs to fight AIDS. We now understand what the HIV protein looks like, what the weaknesses are, and where the antibodies can bind them to neutralise the virus,’ Dr Wayne Koff, chief scientific officer in IAVI, told Indian Express. (Read: Is India’s HIV/AIDS success story a farce?)
‘In India, THSTI collected blood samples from 200 HIV-infected persons (who are not on any treatment) and conducted the first round of screening. Initial results have picked up four such broadly neutralising antibodies.’, Dr Sudhanshu Vrati, head of Translational Health Science and Technology Institute told Indian Express.
We hope that scientists discover the vaccine soon, and the UNAIDS slogan of ‘Getting to zero – zero discrimination, zero AIDS related death and zero new infections’ becomes a reality.