This week marked 30 years since the public announcement that the cause of AIDS had been discovered. But how close are we to defeating HIV? And what sort of vaccine will help us to do this? Well there are a number of different approaches to the creation of a HIV vaccine, some of which look to stop patients from contracting HIV when exposed to the virus, others are looking for a therapeutic vaccine that will act at the very least as a functional cure for HIV+ patients.
Here are some of the different techniques being employed in the development of a HIV vaccine and some of the vaccines that have come out of them.
Live attenuated Vaccines
Live attenuated vaccines, such as the measles vaccine, intentionally weakened form of the target virus. These viruses, though ‘alive’ are virtually harmless to us, and instead provide our immune system with an opportunity to ‘learn’ about the virus and how to respond to it.
There is a lot of debate surrounding whether live attenuated vaccines are safe for humans. Research in the early 1990’s from Daniel et al and Baba et al showed that a vaccine, containing a HIV strain that had had the nef gene removed, protected macaques against SIV, but failed to stop the development of AIDS. Though the development of AIDS in these cases was much slower.
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