Scientists have been left “cautiously pleased” following the results of a recent research on a new HIV Vaccine in both human and monkeys. A study published in medical journal The Lancet showed the effects of the vaccine in 393 subjects, who were chosen from HIV clinics in the US, East Africa, South Africa and Thailand.
The subjects were then given either different combinations of the vaccine or a placebo-a dummy treatment and monitored for a year. All subjects who received the vaccine responded by producing some form of immune response against HIV during the course of testing.
Researchers also carried out another study on 72 rhesus monkeys using the same vaccine to test for resistance against the simian-human immunodeficiency virus, a disease that affects monkeys and is similar to HIV. 67% of the monkeys used in the research were protected by the most effective combination of the vaccine.
Speaking to CNN. the principal investigator on the study, Dr Dan H Barouch, a professor at Harvard Medical School, said, “I would say that we are pleased with these data so far, but we have to interpret the data cautiously. We have to acknowledge that developing an HIV vaccine is an unprecedented challenge, and we will not know for sure whether this vaccine will protect humans.”
The side effects from the vaccination included mild to moderate pain at the injection site, mild to moderate headaches, fatigue and muscle pain. Only 5 people reported more serious adverse effects that included diarrhea, abdominal pain and dizziness.
Given the successful results of the trials, a second round of trials is currently taking place on a group of 2,600 women in sub-Saharan Africa.
Over 37 million people in the world are thought to have HIV or AIDs, out of which 2 million are children. Every year an estimated 1.8 million people become newly infected, that’s about 5,000 people getting newly infected every single day.
While there already exists PREP, a drug that can be taken to prevent HIV transmission between sexual partners, the drug must be taken regularly in order to prevent the user from contracting HIV and studies report that it prevents 1 in 4 cases.