On behalf of IFARA, Fred Schaich spoke with Paul Stoffels, M.D., at this year's International AIDS Conference about his career and a current HIV vaccine trial. As a medical student, Stoffels worked in African hospitals and saw his first HIV patient in 1983. At that time almost everyone infected died because little treatment was available. A doctor can only impact the health of one person at a time and can only do so if the appropriate tools, such as medications, are available, Stoffels said. He met drug researcher Paul Janssen in 1990 and moved into medication research as a way to have a greater impact on HIV. The first antiretrovirals developed by Janssen's team failed because HIV very quickly became resistant to them. This experience led to the development of combination antiretroviral therapy.
Because of better medications, both for initial treatment and second-line therapy, life expectancy for people living with HIV is now normal. That, however, means that people have to take medications for 50 years or so. "That's not a solution," Stoffels believes. His company, Johnson & Johnson, is now studying three different prime-boost HIV vaccines in a clinical trial of 400 participants who will receive four injections over the course of a year. The objective is to achieve better than 50% protection from acquiring the virus. If that goal is met, a phase IIb study of that prevention method may start sometime next year.
Watch the video to learn more:
About the panelist:
Paul Stoffels, M.D., Johnson & Johnson
The video above has been posted on TheBodyPRO.com with permission from our partners at the International Foundation for Alternative Research in AIDS (IFARA). Visit IFARA's website or YouTube channel to watch more video interviews from the conference, as well as earlier meetings.