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)
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid