Despite great progress in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) treatments, AIDS remains one of the greatest global health threats with millions continuing to be infected every year. The ultimate goal would be to develop a vaccine that prevents HIV in the first place. A new research suggests that a vaccine regimen that first primes the immune system and then boosts it to increase the response could ultimately prove to be the strategy for protecting against the HIV infection.
During the study, non-human primates (NHP) were first given an adenovirus serotype 26 (Ad26) vectored vaccine to prime the immune system, and then a boost of a purified HIV envelope protein intended to enhance the immune system over time. The study findings suggested that the investigational 'prime-boost' vaccine regimen provided complete protection to non-human primates from becoming infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), a virus similar to HIV that infects the primates. These results have now encouraged researchers to study the efficacy of the vaccine on a human study that is currently enrolling 400 volunteers in the US and Rwanda, with sites in South Africa, Uganda and Thailand opening soon.
Lead author Dan Barouch, professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School, said, "We are very encouraged by the results of this preclinical HIV vaccine study, and the findings lead to a clear path forward for evaluating this HIV vaccine candidate in humans. This approach is intended to increase both the magnitude of the immune response and the overall protection against subsequent viral challenge."
The study appears online in Science.