Vaccine could reduce HIV to 'minor infection'

Could HIV one day be treated as nothing more than a minor infection? That's what researchers at the National Biotech Center in Madrid are hoping to eventually achieve with MVA-B, their early-stage HIV vaccine.

The vaccine contains four genes that trigger B and T lymphocytes, types of white blood cells that attack the virus and then destroy infected cells, respectively. Lead researcher Professor Mariano Esteban says the vaccine is like showing the immune system "a picture of the HIV so that it is able to recognize it if it sees it again in the future."

In a clinical trial, three-quarters of those who received the MVA-B vaccine developed antibodies against HIV after 11 months. A third of participants developed CD4+ cells while two-thirds developed CD8+ cells--both of which are types of T cells that fend off HIV. Although 92% of trial subjects developed an immune response to the vaccine, further testing is needed to determine whether that response can actually protect the body from the virus. The researchers are now planning a study to test whether MVA-B can be used as a therapeutic vaccine.

"If this genetic cocktail passes Phase II and Phase III future clinic trials, and makes it into production, in the future HIV could be compared to herpes virus nowadays," added Esteban.

- read the article from The Telegraph