News / Health

New Vaccine Protects Monkeys Against Primate Version of HIV

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 2009. (file photo)
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 2009. (file photo)
Jessica Berman

Researchers have developed a vaccine that protects Rhesus monkeys against SIV, the simian version of the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS in humans. Scientists say the experiment could lead to improved treatments for AIDS, and speed development of an effective HIV vaccine.

Building on the results of a large experimental AIDS-vaccine trial in Thailand reported in 2009, researchers developed a two-stage vaccine made up of proteins from the simian immunodeficiency virus, or SIV, that protects a significant percentage of Rhesus macaques against the disease. SIV is a model for HIV because the human virus cannot infect monkeys.

Colonel Nelson Michael is a molecular virologist with the U.S Military HIV Research Program at the Walter Reed Army Institute, and senior author of the research.  

“We have now very good evidence, with new generation vaccines that we are seeing, the kinds of promising results in animals that would propel us to spend significant resources to test these vaccines in humans, which is what we are planning to do,” said Michael.

Investigators first gave their laboratory monkeys a genetically modified “primary” vaccine containing SIV proteins, followed six months later by a “boost” vaccine containing the same proteins. The vaccines were genetically modified to use different, harmless viruses to deliver the SIV proteins.

They also contained something left out of previous experimental vaccines that researchers believe makes the SIV more effective - portions of the virus’ outer envelope or shell.

Each week after the Rhesus monkeys received the vaccines, researchers tried to infect the monkeys with an aggressive strain of SIV.  

The vaccines reduced the animals' chances of becoming infected by 80 percent. Eventually, after repeated exposures, all of the animals became infected, but, according to Michael, they had far less virus in their blood than unvaccinated monkeys.

"If it is true in the human condition, that means individuals would have less circulating virus, they would be less sick, they would not need to go on therapy for a longer period of time but, probably most important, they would not transmit virus as easily to uninfected partners,” said Michael.

Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautions that drugs developed through animal studies often can have different results in humans. But Fauci believes the study is an important step toward a human AIDS vaccine.

“The results were good and they gave us some significant insight into the kinds of responses you might want to elicit or induce in humans with a comparable vaccine,” said Fauci.

In fact, trials of a human version of the two-stage monkey vaccine are underway to test its safety and effectiveness. If all goes well, larger human trials of an HIV vaccine are planned in healthy adults in the US, eastern Africa, South Africa and Thailand, probably sometime next year.

An article by Michael and colleagues on the SIV vaccine is published in the journal Nature.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid