An experimental HIV vaccine has produced a 90 percent immune response in a small group of healthy human subjects, researchers in Spain have reported.
The MVA-B vaccine is composed of bits of noninfectious HIV genetic material, said the scientists from the Spanish National Research Council's National Biotech Center. It is designed to train the immune system to detect and fight different components of HIV.
Mariano Esteban, lead scientist on the work, compared the approach to showing a picture of HIV to the immune system's "soldiers," who will then be ready to recognize and attack it if it appears in the future.
In the clinical trial, the team worked with 30 HIV-negative volunteers to determine whether a healthy immune system is capable of reacting to the vaccine. Six subjects received a placebo. Those who received the vaccine were in no danger of contracting the virus because the four HIV genes used cannot self-replicate. Eighty-five percent of those who got the vaccine maintained a strong response to HIV for at least one year.
Esteban said the goal is for the vaccine to reduce HIV to "a minor chronic infection."
The team's results are reported in two publications: in the Journal of Virology, "The HIV/AIDS Vaccine Candidate MVA-B Administered as a Single Immunogen in Humans Triggers Robust, Polyfunctional and Selective Effector Memory T Cell Responses to HIV-1 Antigens," (2011;doi:10.1128/JVI.05165-11); and in Vaccine, "Safety and Immunogenicity of a Modified Pox Vector-Based HIV/AIDS Vaccine Candidate Expressing Env, Gag, Pol and Nef Proteins of HIV-1 Subtype B (MVA-B) in Healthy HIV-1-Uninfected Volunteers: A Phase I Clinical Trial (RISVAC02)," (09.08.11).
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