The HIV vaccine that will build on what has been learned from the coronavirus

The entire world has its sights set on the development and delivery of coronavirus vaccines. However, COVID-19 is not the only disease that has humanity in check. In fact, there are others that have been doing it for years, although their boom happened a long time ago. It is, for example, the case of AIDSSince the discovery of the virus that causes it, in 1981, it is estimated that more than 30 million people have died from it. It is not a trifle, of course. Therefore, find the HIV vaccine it is also a priority for science.

Fortunately, to this day there are treatments that provide AIDS patients with a practically normal quality of life, as long as they do not stop taking them throughout their lives. But it’s not enough. its high mutation rate and their ability to hide in reservoirs waiting for their time to come, they have made it very difficult during all these years to obtain the long-awaited drug.

Numerous animal trials have been started, most of them without success. Fewer have been tested with humans. Now, one of them, whose results have just been made public in a statement, has once again given rise to hope. It’s just phase I, there is still a long way to go; but, at least for the moment, it seems that this could be the right way.

Another step towards the HIV vaccine

Phase I of clinical trials is the one in which its safety begins to be analyzed and the more efficient doses, always with a still small number of patients.

97% of vaccinated volunteers developed immunity against HIV

In this study, framed in the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), participated 48 people, which were divided into two groups, one to test a low dose and the other to test a higher one. In addition, half of each group received a placebo. This means that you were given a substance that appears to be the same as the vaccine, but without any effect on your body. Thus, you can compare the results and check if, indeed, the HIV vaccine has worked as it should.

The objective was to check if immunity against the virus was generated. So it was. Once the two doses have been administered, two months apart, the 97% of those who received the drug they had generated effective immune cells and antibodies to fight HIV. Specifically, broadly neutralizing antibodies were obtained, capable of adhering to highly conserved proteins of the virus that causes AIDS. Thus, it would be achieved fight different strains, solving the problem generated by its high mutation rate.

And the best, as explained in the statement by the executive director of vaccine design at the IAVI Center for Neutralizing Antibodies, William Schief, is that the technology they have used could be used to prevent diseases, such as zika or malaria.

Let’s not even throw the bells to the flight

This is great news, without a doubt, but it is still too early to take the goal for granted. In fact, it is not the only HIV vaccine that has been obtained reach human clinical trials. She is one of the few that have succeeded, yes, but she is not alone.

What’s more, Janssen laboratories, known for obtaining a vaccine against the coronavirus that will begin to be administered in the European Union In the coming weeks, they have managed to reach phase III of their clinical trials.

The next step for these scientists will be to contact Moderna to use their mRNA technology.

In this case, they use a technology similar to the one they have used for their COVID-19 vaccine. It is not a bad idea to adapt these techniques that have allowed to obtain a immunization method in record time.

For this reason, IAVI’s next step has been to contact the Modern pharmaceutical company, to agree on the development of an HIV vaccine based on that messenger RNA technology that they and Pfizer have used against the coronavirus.

And, although this procedure is so novel that it seems almost science fiction, it will not be strange that in the future it will unseat traditional mechanisms for obtaining vaccines. The COVID has been the first. Hopefully the HIV vaccine can become the second.