A new hope for HIV patients
Recently, it seems that a new vaccine could raise hope for patients with this virus. An experiment tested in monkeys showed that a combined vaccine with immune system stimulant leads to undetectable levels of the virus in monkeys.
Nowadays, patients with HIV use antiretroviral treatments because it helps to lower the levels of the virus, which allow them to have a healthy life, reducing also the risk of infecting others. Nevertheless, the disadvantage is that it’s not a cure, just a treatment to control the virus.
When a person takes the medication, the virus hides in some parts of the body, waiting to appear again. For this reason, people must follow the medication strictly because stopping it involves a dangerous rebound effect that increases the virus levels. This is why it’s important to find the cure that will definitely suppress the virus HIV.
Dan Barouch, the lead investigator of the study, first infected 36 monkeys with simian immunodeficiency virus. Then he treated them with antiretroviral medication for six months. Barouch divided the monkeys into four groups to treat them differently. Almost all monkeys presented a rebound effect of the virus.
However, one of the groups received a combination of the vaccine and the immune system compound, and they presented a considerable improvement compared to the others. The most important result was that three out of nine of these monkeys had undetectable levels of the virus in their bodies.
The vaccine and the immune system compound have been tested separately in human trials. The pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson tested the HIV vaccine, and Gilead Sciences Inc. tested the immune system stimulant. Barouch aims to test both compounds in patients with HIV to determine if it could cure the virus in human beings.
–Isabel Rangel Baron