According to figures from UNAIDS, there are around 1.8 million new diagnoses or HIV every day globally. That equates to 5000 every day. Treatments have improved significantly in the last few decades; the development of pre-exposure prophylaxis (prep) in particular is one of the biggest breakthroughs and experts have estimated that it could prevent up to one in four new cases.
However, despite all the progress that’s been made, a safe and effective vaccine has yet to be approved for use. This is considered crucial in reducing the number of cases as, unlike prep, it wouldn’t require regular use in order to prevent individuals from contracting the virus. In light of this, trials have been taking place to develop a vaccine and one in particular has shown promising results in trials.
Although scientists are still cautious about the new vaccine, the latest study has shown positive results and there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about it. According to the latest study into the effects of the vaccine, it could prevent up to 67% of new cases. The vaccine was tested on subjects from 12 HIV clinics across East Africa, South Africa, the US and Thailand.
Different combinations of the vaccine were given to individuals and produced an anti HIV immune system response on 393 people. All the subjects saw some type of immune response during the testing. Due to the success of the trials, further tests are now being carried out on a group of women in sub-Saharan Africa.
Dr Dan H Barouch, a principal investigator on the study and a professor at Harvard Medical School said: “I would say that we are pleased with these data so far, but we have to interpret the data cautiously. We have to acknowledge that developing an HIV vaccine is an unprecedented challenge, and we will not know for sure whether this vaccine will protect humans.”