August 27, 2012
The HIV virus remains maddeningly clever in eluding vaccines, but there are signs of progress. A post-study analysis of the Thai RV144 vaccine trial found that men who received the vaccine but still became infected had lower semen viral loads and showed other possible signs of partially effective viral control. The men in whom the vaccine may have been partially effective were found to have higher levels of antibodies to the V2 and V3 loops of the HIV gp120 envelope protein. Overproduction of a broad-spectrum antibody, immunoglobulin A (igA) was identified as a possible factor in failure of other men infected after vaccination to develop partially effective viral control.
Norway's Bionor Pharma announced August 13 it had received approval from the German government to carry out an effectiveness study of its Vacc-4x therapeutic vaccine administered in combination with Celgene's Revlimid. It is hoped the treatment will boost the immune systems of patients who are receiving antiretroviral treatment but do not regain normal T cell counts. The study will be carried out in four clinics in Germany.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced August 21 it has awarded $7.8 million in new grants to support research into innovative vaccine approaches. Several of the grants support research to better understand and optimize antibody action against the V2 loop of the gp120 envelope protein, identified in the Thai trial as a site where the RV144 vaccine may have been partially effective.
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