AIDS Vaccine Researcher Hopeful
April 26, 2010
HIV is a "clever virus" that has managed to elude scientists' efforts to develop a vaccine against it, but recent advances have given researchers hope, according to Dr. Alan Bernstein, executive director of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise.
"This is a very exciting time in the field," Bernstein said in an interview in Johannesburg. "A vaccine is possible, and we have the scientific tools now to turn that possibility into a reality."
Bernstein cited the first successful testing of an HIV vaccine candidate in a large study in Thailand. In addition, he said, there has been recent progress in determining whether people with HIV produce antibodies that could lead to a vaccine guarding against several HIV strains.
Though HIV vaccine research has turned a corner after several disappointments, an effective vaccine is still many years away, Bernstein said.
An HIV vaccine would especially be important for Africa, home to most of the world's cases. A vaccine, unlike expensive daily AIDS medicine regimens, could be administered every few years, said Bernstein. A vaccine "is the most effective public health measure we've come up with," he said.
A new report summarizing the findings presented at a 2009 vaccine research conference notes that the HIV vaccine hunt is "steadily moving ahead." Already, the effort has informed the development of other vaccines and treatments for other diseases.
The report, "Progress Towards Development of an HIV Vaccine: Report of the 2009 AIDS Vaccine Conference," was published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases (2010;10(5):305-316).
04.23.2010; Donna Bryson
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This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.