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AIDS Vaccines

There is momentum and promise in the search for an AIDS vaccine.

An effective preventive AIDS vaccine would teach the body how to prevent HIV infection. Vaccines are the most powerful public health tools available—and an AIDS vaccine would play a powerful role in ensuring the end to the AIDS epidemic.

While effective vaccines remain years away, there are more reasons for hope than ever before. Researchers are expanding on the result of a 2009 trial that showed, for the first time, that a vaccine can reduce the risk of HIV infection. They’re also pursuing groundbreaking research with other novel vaccine strategies, including broadly neutralizing antibodies that target a wide range of HIV strains. At the same time, there is also exciting work in efforts to understand if and how to cure HIV in people who are already infected. The timeline for this work is long and uncertain. Here, too, advocacy is needed to sustain momentum.

Today’s momentum depends on sustained funding. Policy makers and funders around the world must have the courage to sustain vital AIDS vaccine research for years to come, and advocates must keep the pressure on them to maintain their commitments.

What We're Reading

Researchers are investigating strategies that would "take the immune system to school," pushing the immune system toward producing protective antibodies capable of warding off HIV-infection. For that to work, individuals must possess a specific type of precursor immune cell that can be taught to produce antibodies that kill HIV. Frances Collins, Director of the NIH, writes here about new research showing that most people do have these required precursor cells.

April 5, 2016
NIH Director's Blog

With recent advances in ARV-based HIV prevention implementation, some may ask whether the world still needs an AIDS vaccine to end the epidemic. A new modeling analysis, published this month in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, answers this question with a resounding yes.

January 5, 2016
PLoS One
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