Recently, scientists have been testing a new vaccine in monkeys and a small handful of humans. According to their research, the vaccine was able to produce an anti-HIV immune response in the trial participants, a promising sign that immunity to HIV could be achieved.
Now, the vaccine is moving on to a new phase of testing, which will involve 2000+ human volunteers. This is farther than most researched HIV vaccines have gone. While previously unsuccessful vaccines only focused on one specific strain on HIV, this current vaccine aims to protect against multiple strains and is being referred to as the “mosaic” vaccine. Although more studies need to be conducted, the Harvard-led team of scientists are happy with the results of the HIV vaccine thus far.
Currently, the closest drug we have for preventing HIV is the once-daily oral medication, Truvada, also known as PrEP or pre-exposure prophylaxis. PrEP prevents the transmission of HIV in those who are at very high risk of contracting the virus. If taken consistently, PrEP has a success rate of 70-90% depending on the mode of transmission.
Researchers of the new HIV vaccine are crossing their fingers for this crucial next step in testing. Even though the drug approval process in the US can take a long time, some drugs may be considered for the Accelerated Approval Program and fast-tracked if they treat a serious condition or fill an unmet medical need.
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