News / Health

    SIV Vaccine Holds Promise for AIDS

    A woman infected with HIV prepares her medicines in a shelter house in Jayapura of the Indonesia Papua province.
    A woman infected with HIV prepares her medicines in a shelter house in Jayapura of the Indonesia Papua province.

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Jessica Berman

    Researchers are excited about a vaccine they have developed that protects rhesus monkeys from infection with a primate version of the AIDS virus. They hope to use what they’ve learned to develop an agent that prevents HIV infection in humans.

    With more than 2.6 million new HIV infections every year, and almost two million deaths from the sexually transmitted virus, an AIDS vaccine remains an urgent, but elusive, goal for AIDS researchers.

    Now, scientists at the Oregon Health and Science University’s Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, or VGTI, think they may finally be on to something. Louis Picker, the head of VGTI’s vaccine program, says researchers have developed an agent that protects rhesus macaque monkeys from simian immunodeficiency virus, or SIV.

    He compares the vaccine to an army on alert, springing into action at the first sign of infection, before the virus has had a chance to gain a foothold in the body.

    “It keeps armed troops at the borders that are able to intercept the incoming HIV or SIV right from the beginning," says Picker. "There’s no delay that requires the recruitment of effector cells that other vaccines require.”

    Effector cells are immune system cells that are mobilized against bacterial or viral invaders.

    Currently, vaccine developers try to prime the body’s immune system to recognize and destroy HIV by attaching genetic material from the virus to a harmless cold virus. But so far, Picker says, the strategy hasn’t worked well because the cold virus doesn’t survive very long in the body.

    Picker’s team of investigators used cytomegalovirus instead. CMV infects most of the world’s population, rarely causes disease, and remains alive - but dormant - indefinitely.

    In the monkey experiments, researchers gave the primates a genetically-modified cytomegalovirus SIV vaccine or the CMV vaccine plus a modified cold virus vaccine. A third group of rhesus got a standard SIV cold virus vaccine alone and a fourth group was not vaccinated.

    Researchers then infected the primates with SIV. While the untreated monkeys and those that got the adenovirus vaccine eventually got sick and developed AIDS, Picker says half of the 24 rhesus macaques that received either the CMV vaccine alone or the CMV plus the cold virus vaccine showed no sign of infection.

    “And in fact, when we tried to find the virus after a year or so it was very difficult to find by a variety of techniques," says Picker, "raising the possibility of whether the infection had actually been cleared from these monkeys which would be unprecedented for an SIV vaccine.”

    Picker's goal now is to formulate a more effective CMV vaccine that is safe enough to begin clinical trials in humans against HIV infection.

    You May Like

    UN Observes International Day of Peacekeepers

    The U.N. honors 3,400 peacekeepers killed since first mission in 1948

    Video Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora