[QODLink]
Americas
Experimental AIDS vaccine 'works in monkeys'
Doctors hope to test humans with vaccine that helped monkeys with form of AIDS virus control infection, within 3 years.
Last Modified: 12 May 2011 01:51
AIDS has killed more than 25 million people worldwide [EPA]

An experimental vaccine has helped monkeys with a form of the AIDS virus control the infection for more than a year, suggesting it may lead to a vaccine for people, US researchers have said.

The vaccine works by priming the immune system to quickly attack the HIV virus when it first enters the body, a point at which the virus is most vulnerable, US researchers said in a study published in the journal Nature on wednesday.

Doctor Louis Picker of the Oregon National Primate Research Center said he thinks it will be possible to have a vaccine ready to test in people within three years.

"We feel it has a possibility of keeping the virus under complete control or clearing the virus," Picker said.

Tests of the vaccine with a primate version of the virus called simian immunodeficiency virus showed more than half were able to keep the virus from replicating so that even the most sensitive tests could not detect any traces of the virus.

So far, the vast majority of the vaccinated monkeys have maintained control over the virus for more than a year, gradually losing any signs that they had ever been infected.

Picker and colleagues use a relatively harmless virus called cytomegalovirus (CMV) as a transport system to take the experimental vaccine into the body.

Virus stopped

They chose it because scientists think most people are already infected with CMV - a virus that remains in the body for life but causes little or no symptoms for most people.

Picker said because the virus is persistently present, it keeps the immune system on alert, ready to attack the virus as it first enters the body, when the virus is thought to be less impervious to the immune system.

"The virus comes in and can be basically stopped in its tracks," Picker said.

The human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS infects 33.3 million people globally, according to the United Nations agency UNAIDS.

It has killed more than 25 million people.

Because it is spread in so many ways, there is no single easy way to prevent infection so a vaccine is the best hope, and many drug companies and scientific research groups are working on various ways to try to develop one.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.