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Scientists make new discovery which raises hope for a HIV vaccine

February 19th 2015 / Elizabeth Bennett Google+ Elizabeth Bennett / 0 comment


A new style of vaccine appears to completely protect monkeys from the HIV virus

Having struggled for over thirty years with conventional efforts to fashion a vaccine for HIV, this week scientists reported in the journal Nature that they have made a breakthrough discovery. In contrast to a traditional type of vaccine which trains the immune system to fight an infection, researchers have instead altered the DNA of monkeys to give their cells HIV-fighting properties.

This radical new technique uses gene therapy to introduce a new section of DNA inside healthy muscle cells which contains instructions for manufacturing the tools to neutralise HIV, which are then constantly pumped out into the bloodstream. The team conducting the research at the Scripps Research Institute in California describe the findings as "a big deal" with the monkeys tested succesfully protected from all types of HIV for at least 34 weeks.

Independent experts confirm the idea is worth "strong consideration" and it is reported that scientists are keen to start human trials soon.

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