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Medicine Biotech

Finnish HIV Vaccine Testing To Begin 72

First time accepted submitter ultranova writes with news of a new phase in trials for an HIV vaccine. From the article: "Some 1,000 patients throughout France and Switzerland will take part on the trials, with the first phase involving hundreds of HIV sufferers. Participant numbers will increase as the program progresses. ... According to Reijonen, the GTU technology developed by FIT Biotech is also suitable for use as a preventive HIV vaccine, however, he says that such a drug is still ten years away.The central idea behind HIV vaccine development is the use of genetic immunization. Genes are introduced into the body in order to generate a controlled immune response against HIV. Gene Transport Unit (or GTU) technology refers to FIT Biotech’s patented method by which genes can be safely introduced into the body."
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Finnish HIV Vaccine Testing To Begin

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I thought a "vaccine" was something you got to prevent you getting a disease, and a "cure" was something you got to rid you of a disease.

    Is it a "vaccine" if they are testing it on people who already have HIV? Seems more like they are testing it as a "cure?"

    Or do words not mean things anymore?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @11:46AM (#45837077)

      You aren't too familiar with how vaccines work then. A vaccine is actually providing a way for the immune system to recognize an infectious agent, and deal with it, which can even apply when you have an infection, in some ways it may even be thought of as giving you the infection, but in a way that reduces your chance of more serious consequences.

      • by Guppy ( 12314 ) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @03:26PM (#45838839)

        The issue here is the distinction between Prophylactic Vaccines and Therapeutic Vaccines .

        The OP's confusion is understandable, as the vast majority of vaccines in clinical use are purely Prophylactic in nature, functioning solely as preventatives; these have little or no utility when administered after infection has taken place. Such vaccines are typically heavily dependent on Humoral Immunity [], which may take several weeks time to reach maximum effectiveness, and maybe an additional dose or two.

        This delay means the vaccine is of little use in acute infectious diseases (which run their course in a relatively short length of time). In chronic diseases, the infectious agent may be around longer, but usually by that time the immune system is already generating an appropriate response to the naturally occurring disease agent -- in other words, the advantage of the vaccine was purely in helping the immune system get there "first-est with the most-est", and you've already lost that advantage in waiting.

        The number of Therapeutic Vaccines is relatively small, but a good example of one such entity is the Rabies Vaccine (which is both a Prophylactic and Therapeutic Vaccine) -- which manages to work post-exposure in part due to the time lag before the virus succeeds in penetrating the central nervous system. The case for most HIV therapeutic vaccine candidates I've seen, is in the argument that an HIV infection mis-directs the immune system that can be corrected; most such candidates attempt to enhance the Cell-Mediated [] Immune response, which appears to be particularly vital to the anti-HIV immune response. However, several such agents have been tried in the past, and all have failed in testing.


        • The number of Therapeutic Vaccines is relatively small, but a good example of one such entity is the Rabies Vaccine (which is both a Prophylactic and Therapeutic Vaccine)

          Indeed. And having had a pretty rough time from the first dose of the rabies vaccine (prophylactic), I still didn't need persuading to take the second and third doses, despite knowing that I was going to feel like I'd been kicked the length of High Street after each dose. And I know that if I do get exposed to rabies virus, I'll still have

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by torstenvl ( 769732 )

      Words mean things. It is unfortunate that you do not understand them. It is true that a vaccine prevents infection. Your post makes me angry with its bullheadedness and ignorance. However, for the sake of your education and the edification of others who might read, let me remind you that HIV is not terminal upon primary infection. Few if any people die from primary HIV infection or "conversion sickness." In fact, for many people, viral levels drop to incredibly low rates after initial infection, even withou

      • by JoeRobe ( 207552 )

        Not sure why this is a troll, but I wish I had mod points to bump it up. I'm not the OP, but I was wondering the same thing regarding how this was a vaccine. This explanation makes complete sense and thanks for the clarification.

        Just so I'm understanding correctly: the amount of HIV virus in the blood is very small after initial infection, so the idea is to use the vaccine to keep the level low (i.e. prevent the virus from ever ramping up again and destroying your immune system)?

        So this would prevent infe

        • Just so I'm understanding correctly: the amount of HIV virus in the blood is very small after initial infection, so the idea is to use the vaccine to keep the level low (i.e. prevent the virus from ever ramping up again and destroying your immune system)?
          So this would prevent infection for those without HIV, and keep HIV dormant for those that already are infected?

          That would be the hope - to a first approximation. Unfortunately, the probably recent relapse of the "Boston" patients (who had appeared to have

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      Words do mean things, just not always what you think

      A vaccine is something injected to prime the immune system to respond to a disease. Mostly they are prophylactic in nature but in a few cases where a disease progresses slowly (such as HIV or rabies) and an inadequate immune response figures into the progression, they may be used therapeutically.

      Originally it was specifically an injection from a cow. That certainly applied to the first vaccine against smallpox, but the definition shifted since.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Always 10 years away?

    • Always 10 years away?

      Yes, when it comes to these high tech innovation announcements like uber-efficient solar cells, flying cars, hydogen fuel cells, hyper storage batteries, optical computers smaller than a warehouse, whatever... its' always the Lewis Carroll quote that is apropos:

      "Jam to-morrow, jam yesterday, but never jam today."

    • For most nice things - you're right. In this case the reason is different. We're talking about a potentially dangerous thing - genetic manipulation. The 10 years are not for new research, but for further testing. The difference is that between "I think we will develop this by then" and "We have it, by then we should be sure whether it's safe" (assuming the current tests succeed).

      If this passes initial tests and proves to be effective and not have any serious short-to-medium term side effects, then that is v

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Simple: 10 years is the shortest unpredictable time that you can still convince people to give funding for. In practice, "10 years away" is more like 10-50 year, with an expected 30 years being realistic. Bit then today nobody funds what you are doing, no matter how important. Incidentally, "10 years away" has by my own estimation at least a 50% chance of meaning "never".

  • HIV vaccines that go back in time are the best in the world!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's Finnish before it's even begun!

  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @12:04PM (#45837187) Journal
    FTA: "Genes are introduced in order to generate a controlled immune response."

    We already have a difficult time maintaining herd immunity through inoculation because of the autism FUD.

    I imagine there will be resistance to an HIV shot in some circles.

    • Which is probably for the best since we're talking about genetic vaccination. Homogeneity is usually not a desirable trait in a species's genome.
      • That's a good point. Undoubtedly, a particular genetic sequence given to HIV immunity comes with other advantages/disadvantages, many of these difficult to predict.

        Mother Nature's style of parenting is hardly doting. I believe I've read 99.9% of all species that ever existed on earth are extinct. A genetic trait that is advantageous in one epoch occasionally kills your grandchildren in the next.

    • You know,it just occurred to me that there's a simple technique that might encourage people "on the fence" to get vaccinated - deny medical care (or at least insurance coverage) related to the disease in question to non-vaccinated individuals who didn't have a legitimate reason to refuse it. (vaccine allergy, etc)

      Of course that would make herd immunity even worse, and could also raise the specter of the sort of vaccine abuses that have been seen in places like Africa, where unwitting patients were injected

      • Or, God forbid, just have sex with people you know don't have HIV/AIDS. If you don't use needles or need blood transfusions, boom: done.

        Oh, hey look, I avoided any potential side effects of the vaccination. Isn't that funny.

        • Fair enough - but somewhat complicated by the fact that the only way to be sure you don't have HIV is to be tested at least 6 months after your last encounter. Complicates things somewhat. Though I suppose you could also go the reputable porn-star route where everyone in the community goes through that initial quarantine period so they can be effectively tested, and then nobody has *any* encounters outside the community. Period. Of course all it takes is one person reneging on their oath one time with th

    • Not likely. Not for the therapeutic vaccine. I think most HIV-positive people will take the chance if it really works.

      For future use as preventive vaccine - yeah, expect resistance. Even more than for other vaccines. After all, most of them are just punching bags for your immune system - they aren't supposed to "do" anything, the FUD is about unintented ("or are they?") side-effects, impurities, stuff like that. In this case the vaccine is directly active - it modifies your body in a way.

      In fact, I would be

    • by Goonie ( 8651 )
      I suspect the HIV shot might be an easier sell than some of the others, because deaths from the initial epidemic are still recent enough for many people to remember. - not to mention public health campaigns like this one [].
      • As a treatment for those already stricken with the disease the shot is a no-brainer.

        As a preventative measure through mass inoculation, there will be civil disobedience. Fool's logic will dictate since the polio & flu vaccines carry the viri, so may the HIV cocktail.

        Maybe folks are just rationalizing their fear of needles, I don't know, but there exist some deadset against it.

  • by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @12:46PM (#45837415) Homepage

    The most amazing thing about this vaccine is that it's a tachyon based vaccine.
    First the testing is Finnish, and now it begins.


  • This scenario may take place pretty soon then? []

MESSAGE ACKNOWLEDGED -- The Pershing II missiles have been launched.