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Promising Vaccine Candidate Could Lead To a Definitive Cure For HIV 185

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-shot-for-the-cure dept.
Zothecula writes "A very promising vaccine candidate for HIV/AIDS has shown the ability to completely clear the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), a very aggressive form of HIV that leads to AIDS in monkeys. Developed at the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), the vaccine proved successful in about fifty percent of the subjects tested and could lead to a human vaccine preventing the onset of HIV/AIDS and even cure patients currently on anti-retroviral drugs."
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Promising Vaccine Candidate Could Lead To a Definitive Cure For HIV

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  • Most of these potential vaccines turn out to be unworkable - but try long enough and hard enough, eventually scientists will hit upon a really good one.

    • This sounds like a pretty damn good one already, even if it only has a 50% success rate so far.

      • On SIV. We don't know yet if it even even work on HIV, and if it can how well the virus can evolve to counter it. HIV is exceptionally adaptive, even by viral standards.

        • According to TFA:

          As with most early vaccine candidates, the study revolves around SIV. SIV is much more aggressive than HIV: it replicates up to 100 times faster and when unchecked it can cause AIDS in only two years.

          To me that sounds like it should actually be easier to clear HIV than SIV.

          • by hedwards (940851)

            Not really. One of the reasons why HIV is such a nasty bugger is that it can lay unobserved for prolonged periods of time. If you've only got 2 years, before onset of AIDS, that's going to greatly reduce the amount of spreading it does.

            It's not about how quickly you can clear it, it's about how effective the vaccine is at preventing the infection in the first place. 50% is not a particularly good number. It's a hell of a lot better than nothing, but it's nowhere near high enough to justify changing ones vie

    • Most of these potential vaccines turn out to be unworkable - but try long enough and hard enough, eventually scientists will hit upon a really good one.

      I agree. We've seen [slashdot.org] these headlines before on Slashdot, but they seem to be getting more and more closer to the target each time.

  • I hear about these HIV/AIDS cures every year but they always disappear.

    • by cdrudge (68377)

      See where it says promising, candidate, and could in the title? Those means that it's not here, but we're getting closer. Doesn't mean that we're there yet, and as such all those promising candidates that could be a cure disappear because they were just that, promising candidates that could be...but ended up not being.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why is figure 12 in the supplements, it seems to be the most important part (it compares cd4+ T-cell levels)? It is not even mentioned in the main text. Isn't reduction in the actual pathology the most important goal of a treatment?

    • Nature papers are really short compared to others. Pretty much all the actual content gets put in supplements.

  • by canadiannomad (1745008) on Friday September 13, 2013 @06:16AM (#44838963) Homepage

    This sounds really interesting...
    It sounds like, instead of infecting the patient with a blunted virus that would eventually die away, they are permanently infecting the patient with a persistent virus that looks and acts like their target but causes no harm to keep up the immune response over the long haul. Sounds to me like a really interesting approach.
    Maybe someone could enlighten me to the history of this approach in the treatment of other diseases, or is it novel?

    • Maybe someone could enlighten me to the history of this approach in the treatment of other diseases, or is it novel?

      The Smallpox [wikipedia.org] vaccine used this approach very succesfully :)

      • The Smallpox [wikipedia.org] vaccine used this approach very succesfully :)

        Well they are using a live vaccine (based on Adenoviridae), but the idea is that it will get killed by the immune system and therefor reduce immune response over time... Whereas this vaccine is going for a persistent infection of the vaccine virus. Or am I misreading the info on the Smallpox vaccine?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 13, 2013 @06:54AM (#44839071)

      Is this persistent virus infectious? I guess a vaccination that you get by having sex with a vaccinated person might prove quite popular ;-)

      Captcha: screwed - are the Captchas generated by an AI?

    • By interesting approach, you mean unbelievably dangerous? One little unfortunately mutation in those couple trillion virus cells over several decades and the patient is dead.
      • Over the course of "several decades" we all have a pretty good chance of death.
        For example, I will be 45 next week. If we take "several decades" to mean 3 decades, then at the end of "several decades" I will be 75 years old. None of the men in my family have lived past 70 so, there is a really good chance that in the next several decades I will be dead.

        You don't give up on something just because it isn't perfect.
  • Several companies are starting their phase 3 trials about now. I've invested in one of them. If they are successfull I'll retire, but I mostly invested just to make sure someone is working on it.

    It takes time to move from "killing viruses in a jar" to actually making something that removes the viruses from people without killing them at the same time.

  • Population growth (Score:3, Insightful)

    by benjfowler (239527) on Friday September 13, 2013 @07:52AM (#44839309)

    Given that HIV/AIDS has made the population growth rates in certain places explode, and that these places have very young populations, would a definitive cure for HIV/AIDS set off a massive population timebomb? Has any thought been given to the consequences of very suddenly removing a big source of mortality?

    • by felipekk (1007591)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AIDS#Epidemiology [wikipedia.org]

      HIV/AIDS is a global pandemic. As of 2010, approximately 34 million people have HIV worldwide. Of these approximately 16.8 million are women and 3.4 million are less than 15 years old. It resulted in about 1.8 million deaths in 2010, down from a peak of 2.2 million in 2005.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_growth#Human_population_growth_rate [wikipedia.org]

      The CIA World Factbook gives the world annual birthrate, mortality rate, and growth rate as 1.89%, 0.79%, and 1.095%

    • A very promising vaccine candidate for HIV/AIDS has shown the ability to completely clear the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), a very aggressive form of HIV that leads to AIDS in monkeys. Developed at the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), the vaccine proved successful in about fifty percent of the subjects tested and could lead to a human vaccine preventing the onset of HIV/AIDS and even cure patients currently on anti-retroviral drugs.

      Not the best idea, but maybe those who can't afforded the treatment can be subsidized by the government if they agree to sterilization.

      • Not the best idea, but maybe those who can't afford the treatment can be subsidized by the government if they agree to sterilization.

        If fact, the government should subsidize all voluntary sterilizations and forms of birth control. Almost all of the worlds problems stem from overpopulation. Furthermore, if they incentivize this, it may be possible to achieve negative population growth.

        People think that individuals on welfare have babies on purpose, but the reality is they can't afford birth control. Give free birth control to anyone who wants it, it's as simple as:

        1) a medical professional writes you prescription.
        2) you take it to the pha

    • by pseudofrog (570061) on Friday September 13, 2013 @02:28PM (#44842717)
      Maybe in the short term. But in the long term, building strong economies has been shown, time and again, to reduce birthrates significantly. Stamping out HIV would remove a huge burden on these economies, making sustainable growth easier to attain.
  • by Guppy (12314) on Friday September 13, 2013 @08:21AM (#44839433)

    As someone who actually worked on (albeit briefly) an HIV vaccine candidate, I'd like to comment that there have been a number of successful anti-SIV vaccines already, each of which have gone on to miserable -- and expensive -- failures when the underlying technology was applied to an HIV vaccine. And for those candidates that actually made it to human trials before failure, each attempt had a human cost as well (conspiracy theorists, go fuck yourselves).

    That being said, the approach used is rather clever, if someone risky. The technique used is what is known as a "Heterologous Antigen" delivery, but in this case it has been combined with a persistent agent that establishes a life-long infection. The vector used was Rhesus Cytomegalovirus, which has a analogous human virus known as Human Cytomegalovirus [wikipedia.org], aka Herpesvirus-5.

    CMV is a very common infection (in some countries 90+%, although somewhat lower in the United States). It's generally considered harmless to healthy individuals, and most pick it up during childhood, where it is commonly passed around in daycare centers and such. Initial symptoms are usually mild and non-specific (although in some individuals it can produce Mono-like symptoms [wikipedia.org]), and typically afterwards the viral infection is well-controlled with no further signs of infection. Unlike some more famous members of the Herpesvirus family, it does not produce any sores or vesicles or such.

    However, on occasion it can be dangerous, as one of the infectious agents that can sometimes result in TORCH syndrome [wikipedia.org] effects (like the infamous "Blueberry Muffin Baby") when primary infections (first encounter with the infectious agent for an individual) occurs in a pregnant women. It can also be dangerous in immunosuppressed individuals, such as organ transplant recipients and advanced AIDS patients.

    • +1 Informative
  • The day they come out with a guaranteed one-shot cure for AIDS, there will be f***ing in the streets.

    "IT'S OVEEEEERRRRR!"
    "WHOOOOOHOOOO!"
    "Who are you? C'mere!"

    "No, it's over! YEAH!"

    And if you can't get laid that day, just cut it off!

  • Just as there's mass hysteria and a lot of unfounded accusations around the rubella and other vaccinations, there will be with the HIV vaccine as well. Ignorant parents will insist it made their kid autistic or ADHD or a gangbanger or whatever.

  • Somewhat misleading - I listened to this topic on NPR for the past week (first heard about it Monday - yay /.!). 50% of test cases were successful, so while the vaccine is a good thing to continue to investigate, "very promising" is a bit off as it needs more work. Although, it should also be noted that SIV is a much much more deadly disease than HIV/AIDS.

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