Scientists just hit a new milestone for testing their HIV vaccine

AIDS activists light a group of candles placed in the shape of a red ribbon during an event marking World AIDS Day in Manila

While these results are not ideal, they "represent an important milestone", Harvard professor, Dan Barouch, said.

"The challenges in the development of an HIV vaccine are unprecedented, and the ability to induce HIV-specific immune responses does not necessarily indicate that a vaccine will protect humans from HIV infection", he added.

The Mosaic HIV vaccine is one of only five experimental vaccines to make it this far since the HIV/AIDS epidemic began.

Asked for his opinion, Robert Gallo, MD, co-founder and director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said that there are probably seven or eight studies of HIV vaccines going on right now, and the real question is obviously will be what the efficacy trials of this vaccine will say.

"However, it's important to be cautious and be clear that there's a lot of work to do before an effective HIV vaccine is readily available". For their next step, they are launching a new vaccine trial that will include 2,600 women in southern Africa who are at risk of HIV infection.

The vaccine was developed by Janssen pharmaceuticals.

A vaccine against HIV has been a real challenge for scientists, because of this virus many strains. He explained that more data needs to come in from human trials to deem this as safe and protective against HIV infection.

A vaccine is a vital weapon in the war against the virus, which infects an 1.8 million people each year.

Results showed that all vaccine regimens tested were capable of generating anti-HIV immune responses in healthy individuals and were well tolerated, with similar numbers of local and systemic reactions reported in all groups, most of which were mild-to-moderate in severity.

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Doctors diagnosed over 1.8 million new cases of HIV infection in 2016, the authors informed.

While advancements in treatment have made exponential strides since the disease was first identified in the early 1980s, a vaccine has yet to be proven effective.

It has also helped to protect monkeys from the virus similar to HIV.

To test the vaccine, the team gathered nearly 400 adults with HIV aged between 18 to 50 from 12 clinics in southern and eastern Africa, Thailand and the U.S.in 2015. The virus is also able to mutate, thus eluding attack from the human immune system.

"These results should be interpreted cautiously", Barouch said.

An accompanying editorial by George N. Pavlakis, MD, and Barbara K. Felber, PhD, both of the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Maryland, discussed this approach, stating that it "defines an additional path for exploring the development of an effective HIV vaccine".

The human participants, from Thailand, South Africa, Uganda, and Rwanda, ranged in age from 18 to 50 years.

All of the vaccine combinations produced an anti-HIV immune system response and were found to be safe. "We don't know whether protection in monkeys means there will be protection in humans".

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