HIV vaccine not far from reach

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Scientists at the AIDS Vaccine Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, have announced new discoveries to improve the RV 144 vaccine.
The RV 114 is a modestly effective AIDS vaccine has been experimented in Asia since 2009.
It is said to have prevented infection in about 31 per cent of 16 thousand Thai volunteers far above those on an inactive substance designed to resemble the vaccine called placebo.
Results from the RV 144 suggest its protection against HIV is high between 6 and 12 months.
It is the biggest HIV Vaccine research finding in the history of the pandemic, a collaborative initiative of more than 25 institutions and tens of scientists.
Several clinical trials, including testing of an immune booster in Thailand and South Africa are expected in the next nine months.

The story so far

Deputy Director for Science at the U.S Army, Colonel Jerome Kim, believes the results of the RV 144 gives the world hope HIV Vaccine is not far from the reach of scientists.
Dr. Kim, who was deeply involved in the RV 144 Thai trial, tells Nhyira News a licensed HIV vaccine will be an effective tool in the global fight against HIV.
He calls results of the RV144 “glimmer of light”.
“Because having an effective public health HIV vaccine would be a light of day and now what we are seeing is the first glimmers of a possible success” he said.
The trials and new studies are aimed at improving the efficacy level of RV 144 to 50 or 60 per cent in the next three years.
Dr. Kim is hopeful scientists would be able to build on the RV 144 trial success in the years to come.
“With the RV144, correlates tell us there might be something to aim for a target, a direction for the research to go. It tells us this is the question to ask, and if you get an answer to that question then you make the next step so science is a bit like a game where you go from level one to level two to level three t level four” he explained.

So when will an effective HIV vaccine be ready for use?

Though scientists are delighted in the progress so far, they anticipate more work before a vaccine can be produced at last.
Dr. Kim says researchers will have opportunity to build on the RV144 success with correlates analyses which will eventually get them to an HIV vaccine which can be used.
“The big problem is we cannot tell you” (when vaccine would be ready).It depends on things that would be under control.”
But much work will depend on the outcome of next clinical trials in South Africa and Thailand.
“Are the populations in Thailand and South Africa going to be available and willing to test the vaccine so there are a lot of things we don’t know and can’t know at this point” Dr Kim stressed.

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