Durable end to AIDS will require HIV vaccine development

February 5, 2014, NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Broader global access to lifesaving antiretroviral therapies and wider implementation of proven HIV prevention strategies could potentially control and perhaps end the HIV/AIDS pandemic. However, a safe and at least moderately effective HIV vaccine is needed to reach this goal more expeditiously and in a more sustainable way, according to a new commentary from Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and colleague Hilary D. Marston, M.D., M.P.H.

In the piece, the authors note that behavioral, cultural and legal factors have hindered HIV prevention and treatment efforts and explain why those factors necessitate the development of an HIV vaccine. Although attempts to develop a vaccine have so far proven disappointing, recent advances offer encouraging areas for HIV vaccine researchers to pursue, according to the authors. Notably, the discovery of naturally occurring broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV and studies of their stimulation in infected individuals have opened new avenues in . Using improved understanding of those antibodies and the specific sites on HIV to which they bind, the natural process of antibody evolution could be replicated and greatly expedited allowing protection against initial infection. Significant advances also have been made in understanding T-cell responses that may be important to vaccine-induced immunity against HIV.

The authors conclude that "the HIV prevention community should hold fast to its commitment to vaccine science. Ultimately, we believe, the only guarantee of a sustained end of the AIDS pandemic lies in a combination of nonvaccine prevention methods and the development and deployment of a safe and sufficiently effective HIV vaccine."

Explore further: Scientists find mechanism that helps HIV evade antibodies, stabilize key proteins

More information: AS Fauci and HD Marston. Ending AIDS—Is an HIV vaccine necessary? New England Journal of Medicine DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1313771 (2014).

Related Stories

Scientists find mechanism that helps HIV evade antibodies, stabilize key proteins

February 3, 2014
NIH scientists have discovered a mechanism involved in stabilizing key HIV proteins and thereby concealing sites where some of the most powerful HIV neutralizing antibodies bind, findings with potential implications for HIV ...

Animal vaccine study yields insights that may advance HIV vaccine research

December 18, 2013
A vaccine study in monkeys designed to identify measurable signs that the animals were protected from infection by SIV, the monkey version of HIV, as well as the mechanism of such protection has yielded numerous insights ...

Key goals for building on 30 years of HIV/AIDS research

May 31, 2011
In the 30 years since the first reported cases of a mysterious illness now known as AIDS, researchers have made extraordinary advances in understanding, treating and preventing the disease. Now the challenge, according to ...

HIV/AIDS vaccines: Defining what works

July 18, 2013
Designing an effective HIV/AIDS vaccine is something of a paradox: a good vaccine would be safe and look enough like HIV to kick-start the immune system into neutralizing the virus – but the problem is that this is exactly ...

Researchers discuss challenges to developing broadly protective HIV vaccines

September 7, 2011
The human body can produce powerful antibodies that shield cells in the laboratory against infection by an array of HIV strains. In people, however, recent research shows that these broadly neutralizing antibodies are not ...

HIV vaccines elicit immune response in infants

October 8, 2013
A new analysis of two HIV vaccine trials that involved pediatric patients shows that the investigational vaccines stimulated a critical immune response in infants born to HIV-infected mothers, researchers at Duke Medicine ...

Recommended for you

HIV-1 genetic diversity is higher in vaginal tract than in blood during early infection

January 18, 2018
A first-of-its-kind study has found that the genetic diversity of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is higher in the vaginal tract than in the blood stream during early infection. This finding, published in PLOS ...

War in Ukraine has escalated HIV spread in the country: study

January 15, 2018
Conflict in Ukraine has increased the risk of HIV outbreaks throughout the country as displaced HIV-infected people move from war-affected regions to areas with higher risk of transmission, according to analysis by scientists.

Researchers offer new model for uncovering true HIV mortality rates in Zambia

January 12, 2018
A new study that seeks to better ascertain HIV mortality rates in Zambia could provide a model for improved national and regional surveillance approaches, and ultimately, more effective HIV treatment strategies.

New drug capsule may allow weekly HIV treatment

January 9, 2018
Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women's Hospital have developed a capsule that can deliver a week's worth of HIV drugs in a single dose. This advance could make it much easier for patients to adhere to the strict schedule ...

New long-acting, less-toxic HIV drug suppresses virus in humanized mice

January 8, 2018
A team of Yale researchers tested a new chemical compound that suppresses HIV, protects immune cells, and remains effective for weeks with a single dose. In animal experiments, the compound proved to be a promising new candidate ...

Usage remains low for pill that can prevent HIV infection

January 8, 2018
From gritty neighborhoods in New York and Los Angeles to clinics in Kenya and Brazil, health workers are trying to popularize a pill that has proven highly effective in preventing HIV but which—in their view—remains woefully ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.