Oregon Moving Toward Human Trials On HIV Vaccine (VIDEO)

The Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) is recruiting volunteers to test its HIV vaccine. OHSU is also working on vaccines for tuberculosis, malaria, and hepatitis C.

These human trials for the HIV vaccine could lead to trials being approved for these other diseases. The infectious diseases specialist running the trials, Dr. Marcel Curlin, had this to say:

“HIV is the poster child because it affects so many people, but there are many other conditions that are also extremely challenging to prevent or cure.”

Getting the vaccine on the market will probably take around a decade and millions of dollars. The OHSU is looking for thousands of volunteers across the country.

HIV is very hard to treat because our immune systems just don’t know how to handle it. The vaccine uses cytomegalovirus, a common strain of herpes, to act as a carrier for the HIV. The HIV virus attacks T-cells, and cytomegalovirus puts T-cells on alert.

This approach causes the cytomegalovirus to look like HIV, and it trains the body to attack this virus. The virus cannot infect volunteers with HIV, so that is not a concern.

In animal trials, the vaccine cured 50 to 60-percent of monkeys. The researchers are looking for healthy people ages 18 to 60 for the trials.

There is another HIV trial going in South Africa, according to Oregon Live. The vaccine is safe, and it generates similar immune responses to a 2009 study which found that HIV can be prevented with a vaccine.

Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and a co-founder of the trial said this about it:

“A safe and effective HIV vaccine could help bring about a durable end to the HIV/AIDS pandemic and is particularly needed in southern Africa, where HIV is more pervasive than anywhere else in the world.”

This informative video will tell you about how vaccines work and show what it will take to make an HIV vaccine:

Featured image by NAIAD via Flickr, available under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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