Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is caused by HIV
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent HIV
Duke researchers make strides in finding HIV vaccine
New clues in immune systems of HIV-infected people hold the key
to effective HIV vaccine development
Some people infected with HIV develop desired antibodies against the infection after several years, but an HIV vaccine is not able to induce the same immune response. This mystery baffled the scientists.
New Insights into HIV Vaccine Development
A recent study published in the journal Science Immunology, conducted by Duke Human Vaccine Institute scientists tries to unravel the mystery, detailing new insights into HIV vaccine development.
‘Understanding the immune systems of HIV-infected individuals could pave way for the development of an effective HIV vaccine.’
Researchers studied 100 HIV-infected
people - out of which 50 of them were people whose immune systems produced
antibodies that are capable of neutralizing HIV, other 50 whose immune systems
did not produce the antibodies.
differences in the immune system help in the development of a how-to manual for
an effective HIV vaccine.
immunodeficiency virus (HIV) weakens a person's immune system by destroying the
key cells that fight infection and disease. It is mainly transmitted through
unprotected sex, shared needles, contaminated blood transfusions and during
The two main types of HIV strain include:
HIV 1 - The most common
type and is found worldwide
HIV 2 - Found mainly in
Western Africa, with some cases in India and Europe
36.9 million people are
living with HIV/AIDS, of which 2.6 million are children
In 2015 at least 2
million people enrolled newly on antiretroviral treatment
In India, 2.1 million
people are living with HIV
Developing a safe,
effective and affordable vaccine helps prevent HIV infection
gives us the beginning of an understanding of the immune mechanisms that
control the development of broadly neutralizing antibodies, which is a major
goal of a successful HIV vaccine," said Barton F. Haynes, M.D., director of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute
and senior author of the study. "This moves forward important concepts for
vaccine design to overcome a roadblock that has been present since we began
this work 30 years ago."
Previous work conducted by Haynes and colleagues, involved case study of a person with both HIV and a form of lupus erythematosus (autoimmune disease). The immune system of the person controlled both the virus and developed neutralizing antibodies. The immune disruptions that made the person develop lupus somehow enabled the neutralizing antibodies to carry on its function to fight the virus.
Results of the study revealed that
HIV-infected people and individuals with autoimmune disease have similar immune
essence, HIV cloaks its vulnerable sites that the immune system wants to see by
making them resemble our own tissues, thereby creating an environment in which
the virus is protected and the beneficial antibodies are treated as a threat to
the body", said lead author Anthony Moody, M.D., chief medical officer of the
Duke Human Vaccine Institute.
findings suggest that for a broadly neutralizing antibody-inducing HIV vaccine
to be successful, we will need to mimic with vaccination the immune
perturbations that occur in the setting of HIV infection," Haynes said.
important point here is that the first step to finding a way around a
roadblock, is to be able to understand the biology behind the problem," Haynes
said. "We now know what we need to do"
step in the research is to safely mimic the mechanism behind the infection and
when the right antibodies are induced.
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