vaccine hope-just thought this might help
#5810 - 06/16/00 10:18 PM
Wednesday, 14 June, 2000, 18:05 GMT 19:05 UK
Live HIV vaccine 'is possible'
Scientists are developing a live vaccine for HIV that
cannot infect the people it is supposed to protect.
New Scientist magazine reports that a US team has
created a hybrid of HIV and another virus that can
enter cells, but cannot reproduce itself once there.
The vaccine contains four HIV genes surrounded by
the coat of the vesicular stomatitis virus.
The scientists, from the Center for Aids Research at
the University of California in San Diego, believe it will
encourage the immune system to seek out and
destroy cells harbouring HIV.
They plan to test their theory in experiments on
The treatment relies on priming dendritic cells - the
cells which activate the immune system to attack
Dendritic cells display protein fragments of their "prey"
on the surface, and this trains other components of
the immune system such as T cells to recognise and
destroy the same invaders or diseased cells.
The researchers' plan is to extract dendritic cells from
the patient's blood and infect them with the gutted
The patient would then be injected with the treated
cells to encourage their immune system to destroy
Using real HIV, even in a severely weakened form,
would be far too risky.
So the researchers have removed the genes HIV
needs to replicate itself, and added genetic material
from the other virus.
Previous attempts to develop an emasculated version
of HIV have ended in failure when the virus recovered
its capacity to cause disease.
June Kan-Mitchell, of the Karmanos Cancer Institute in
Detroit who has collaborated with the San Diego team,
said the new hybrid was "one step away from the virus
Initial results of laboratory tests, due to appear in
Blood next month, suggest the vaccine works.
Ruth Ruprecht of Harvard Medical School: "It looks
like an interesting approach and has potential."
A spokesman for the HIV charity The Terrence Higgins
Trust said: "Vaccine research is a vital part of the fight
against the worldwide spread of HIV, and any
developments in this field are welcome.
"However, there are several different strains of the virus
and it remains to be seen if a single vaccine will be
effective in fighting all variants of HIV."
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