Tuesday, July 22, 2008

AIDS vaccine: is there still hope?

AIDS may not be curable, but at least it’s preventable.

Safe sex practices, monogamous relationships, universal precautions for health care providers, and avoid sharing unsterilized needles/syringes for IV injections, and such are safety precautions in order to avoid acquiring this dreadful malady.

However, recent studies have led to a promising vaccine---the AIDS vaccine.
This AIDS vaccine is a two-shot injection designed to fight against HIV infection a different way – it triggers the body’s cell-mediated immune responses rather than relying solely on HIV antibodies.

I've watched from one of the health news in our school about this AIDS vaccine, and I've thought that if this vaccine would proved to be successful, 27 years of struggling against AIDS would at last come to an end.

The irony is, researchers still fail to understand how exactly our body defends against HIV. And the absence of this vital information may perchance suggest that any vaccines or medications aiming to trigger immune responses may actually be based on blind hypotheses.
It’s a complicated puzzle that even 33 million current cases of AIDS worldwide still can’t give us the missing pieces.

Meanwhile large-scale trial for AIDS vaccine was dropped recently. Dr Anthony Fauci, NIAID director, cancelled the test phase of the Partnership for AIDS Vaccine Evaluation or Pave after Merck’s previous trial proved to be unsuccessful.

If one can remember, last September, the Merck (pharmaceutical company) suspended its trials of the Ad5 vaccine, which aimed to lower the viral load in the bloodstream. The results of the trial suggested that the vaccine may have unintentionally increased HIV risk among subjects who were exposed to blood or semen infected with HIV.

So far, it was said that the best way to test whether the vaccine is indeed helpful or not is by first trying it out on a smaller, more focused study rather than going on large-scale.

Slowly, but surely right?=D

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