A Brazilian AIDS vaccine to be tested later this year could prevent HIV-positive people from contracting AIDS, the vaccine's creators say.
The Brazilian AIDS vaccine, known as HIVBr18, was developed at the Medicine Faculty of the University of Sao Paulo. The scientists say that the AIDS vaccine won't eliminate the virus from an organism, but will keep it at a low enough viral load so that an infected person wouldn't develop an immunodeficiency or transmit the virus.
"The vaccine in itself would not offer a cure, but it would be a way to mitigate the disease," said researcher Edecio Cunha Neto, who been developing the vaccine since 2001, along with Jorge Kalil and Simone Fonseca. "Combined with another vaccine, it might contribute to full protection against the HIV virus."
The first step in testing the Brazilian AIDS vaccine will be a two-year monkey trial, which will begin next month.
"Our goal is to test various immunisation methods to select the one capable of inducing a stronger immunological response and thus be able to test it on humans," said Neto.
Rhesus monkeys will be used in the Brazilian AIDS vaccine trial, as they have similar immune systems to humans. Rhesus monkeys are also capable of acquiring Simian Immunology Virus, which is believed to be the origin of HIV in humans.
This year has seen a number of advancements, and failures, in the global quest for an HIV/AIDS vaccine.
Earlier this year, Danish researchers from Aarhus University Hospital began human clinical trials on an experimental HIV treatment. Those trials come on the heels of in vitro lab studies in which the Danes were able to neutralize the HIV virus in certain cells.
A month before the Danish study began, the National Institutes of Health in the United States stopped a study of another experimental HIV vaccine after it failed to prevent HIV or reduce it in the bloodstream.