The renowned scientist, Dr. Robert Gallo who first proved that AIDS is caused by HIV in 1984 has now developed a vaccine for the same. He and his colleagues had spent last 15 years to develop a AIDS vaccine and it is about to begin tests in humans for the very first time.
The Phase 1 trial will involve 60 volunteers and will focus only on testing the safety and immune responses to the vaccine. It is being held in collaboration with Profectus BioSciences.
Though there are 100's of vaccines developed over the years, this particular vaccine has been developed with "an unusual method of protection."
Gallo said, "The vaccine is called the full-length single chain vaccine and it contains a version of HIV's surface protein, gp120, engineered so that it links to a few portions of a protein called the CD4 receptor. When HIV infects cells, gp120 first binds to the CD4 receptor on white blood cells and then 'transitions' in such a way that hidden parts of the virus are exposed, allowing it to bind to a second receptor on the immune cells called CCR5."
"Once bound to both receptors, HIV can enter the white blood cell and establish an infection. The IHV vaccine aims to generate antibodies that bind to HIV's gp120 when it's in this transitional state, ultimately blocking attachment to CCR5, aborting the infection process, " he said.
The vaccine has taken such a long time because he and his team have done extensive testing in monkeys and have faced "the typical vaccine challenges" in creating a human-grade product. They have also faced funding issues.
The research is being conducted at his Institute of Virology in the US and the initial phase is expected to last about a year and would include more patients when it advances to the final phase.