Researchers at HIV/AIDS Vaccine Conference Discuss New Methods, Ongoing Trials
October 20, 2008
Researchers at the AIDS Vaccine 2008 conference in Cape Town, South Africa, last week examined how setbacks in developing a vaccine have "forced them to look for entirely new ways of creating a defense against the disease," AFP/Google.com reports. "We are in the middle of quite a profound shift of mindset in the research community," Alan Bernstein, director of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, said at the conference, which ended on Friday. He added that setbacks have made researchers examine new research methods in the effort to develop an HIV/AIDS vaccine (Blandy, AFP/Google.com, 10/18).
About 30 clinical trials for vaccine candidates are under way worldwide, and the "most watched" is a study in Thailand that began in 2003, according to AFP/Google.com. Results from the trial are expected next year, and about 16,000 people are participating. According to some researchers, the trial will provide important information about HIV/AIDS whatever its outcome.
According to Bernstein, the most interesting new research into HIV/AIDS vaccines involves defenses in the body called the innate immune system. The innate immune system serves as an "early warning system for invading diseases," AFP/Google.com reports, and Bernstein said that the system could stop HIV if researchers determine a method of triggering it early. "We now know we may have only hours, at most days, before we have a window of opportunity to stop HIV," he said, adding, "So that's reason to think this early warning system might be critical to activate if we are going to design a vaccine" (AFP/Google.com, 10/18).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.