Changing The World With An HIV Vaccine
Today researchers are working all over the world to find an HIV vaccine. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS, and researchers have been looking for a vaccination since the virus was identified in 1983. More than 30 different vaccine candidates have been tested in trials. If a successful vaccine was found this would be able to save millions of lives in adults and children, and also eliminate high medical costs for those who are suffering from this disease. Scientists are searching for vaccines that are either preventive, therapeutic, or one that serves both purposes. A preventive vaccine would protect from acquiring HIV, a therapeutic vaccine would control HIV such as antiretroviral therapy currently does, but without daily pills taking.
If researchers were able to find a preventive HIV vaccine that was only effective in 50 percent of cases, and they were able to administer it to 30 percent of the population at risk for the disease, this alone would eliminate more than half of developing cases in as little as 15 years. Finding a vaccine that would be more than 50 percent successful could decrease the rate of infection past 80 percent. This vaccine would have many more different advantages compared to the preventative measures that are currently being used today in patients with the disease, those who are susceptible to it, and also in unborn infants.
The different trials that have occurred have focused on helping the body create the antibodies needed to fight HIV, and also to build a cellular immunity against it. These studies have barely been successful, and were not effective against the different strains all over the world. Since there are no documented cases of anyone ever spontaneously recovering from HIV, there is nothing naturally in the body for scientists to imitate.
It has been very difficult to find a HIV vaccine because the virus is constantly changing and it has many different sub types. After someone infected is treated, the virus hides in human cells where the people’s immune system cannot get to it. There are no ideal animals either, except primates, to test on, making it hard to find accurate responses to the vaccinations. If a vaccine was found it would be easy to administer with little equipment needed, being a very affordable option for governments and AIDS patients.
An HIV vaccine would, however, still require sexual partners to be cautious about wearing condoms to avoid any other type of sexually transmitted diseases.