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Which comes first, a cure or a vaccine ??
Oct 5, 2013

Dear Ben,

I have been reading lots of articles on HIV but based on that, I somehow perceive that a cure or a functional cure would come first before a preventive vaccine. According to the researchers, it would be easier to obtain the cure than the vaccine, based on the existing progress of research ??

What would be your take (opinion) on this ??

Also, will the functional cure at least help people with AIDS (advanced HIV disease) like me ??

Response from Dr. Young

HI and thanks for posting your interesting question.

Given that we already have several cases of probable HIV cure and don't have a candidate HIV vaccine (either preventive or treatment), the answer is cure will be first.

Functional cure depends on how one defines the term. Speaking very generically, yet specifically, I do think that in some ways we already have a functional cure for AIDS- it's antiretroviral medications. That is to say that if selected and adhered to optimally, ART prevents AIDS complications. This could be as simple as a one pill per day "cure". Most people don't view functional cure this way- they're looking for strategies that don't require daily (or even less frequent) dosing of medications. In this light, would a once-monthly injection be considered a functional cure? How about a once every three month injection? These are actually possible in the not-too-distant future.

I agree with you, I think that either of these strategies will likely be available before a preventive or therapeutic vaccine.

Hope that helps and thanks again for posting. BY



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