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HIV Vaccine

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

An effective preventive HIV vaccine would teach the body how to prevent HIV infection. Vaccines are the most powerful public health tools available—and an HIV 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 HIV vaccine research for years to come, and advocates must keep the pressure on them to maintain their commitments.

What We're Reading

The RV144 vaccine trial is the only clinical study to have shown a modest but statistically significant decrease in HIV infection risk. RV144 and the subsequent studies identifying the level of V1V2-specific antibodies as a correlate of reduced infection risk are still controversial despite many papers supporting and expanding the initial study. We address these controversies and summarize active and passive immunization experiments in non-human primates that support the initial finding.

June 12, 2019
Journal of Virology

Here, we generate a chimpanzee SIV Env trimer, MT145K, which displays selective binding to HIV V2-apex bnAbs and precursor versions, but no binding to other HIV specificities. We determine the structure of the MT145K trimer by cryo-EM and show that its architecture is remarkably similar to HIV Env. Immunization of an HIV V2-apex bnAb precursor Ab-expressing knockin mouse with the chimpanzee MT145K trimer induces HIV V2-specific neutralizing responses. Subsequent boosting with an HIV trimer cocktail induces responses that exhibit some virus cross-neutralization.

May 24, 2019
Antibody Related Research, HIV Vaccine
Cell Reports

HIV scientists, researchers, and people with HIV are eagerly awaiting the results of four major HIV vaccine trials that rely on the antibody approach. Those studies are being led by the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), a nonprofit organization working in collaboration with the U.S. government, the pharmaceutical industry, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

May 18, 2019
The Body

Researchers have found a new way to deliver an HIV vaccine that enhances the body's protective immune response in experiments conducted on monkeys. The approach—developed by a team from the La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) in California—involves giving an HIV vaccine in small doses over a series of days, which the scientists say provides a better immune response than when the same drug is given all at once.

May 9, 2019
Newsweek
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