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New hope for HIV: Researchers develop effective AIDS vaccine for monkeys

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Researchers have developed a potential HIV vaccine in monkeys that may eventually lead to protection for humans.

The team at Oregon Health & Science University’s Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, produced a vaccine that programmes the immune system of rhesus macaque monkeys to respond more swiftly to the presence of a primate version of HIV.

The researchers tested their vaccine candidate using a monkey form of HIV called Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV). Of the monkeys that received the vaccine candidate, just more than half controlled replication of the virus to the extent that even the most sensitive tests could not detect signs of SIV.

To date, the vast majority of these animals have maintained control over the virus for more than a year, gradually losing any signs that they had ever been infected. In contrast, the macaques in the unvaccinated control group developed the monkey form of AIDS.

“The next step in vaccine development is to test the vaccine candidate in clinical trials in humans,” said Louis Picker, M.D. , associate director of the institute.

The National Institutes of Health and, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative provided funding for this research.

Read Simon Meadow’s story on The Optemist’s Website