Clinical tests carried out on humans with a new HIV vaccine had promising results in phase 1.
According to the IAVI - International AIDS Vaccine Initiative - and Scripps Research, 97% of the participants who received the injection developed immune cells capable of fighting HIV infection.
In the study, the researchers tested a new vaccine approach that works by stimulating the production of rare immune cells, necessary to create the right antibodies to fight the virus, which is constantly changing.
48 people participated in the first phase of clinical tests that assess safety and antibodies.
The volunteers were divided into two groups: a low dose group or a high dose group.
They received two doses of the vaccine or placebo, two months apart.
The results showed that among those who received the immunizer, 97% developed the correct immune cells to prevent an HIV infection, the so-called broadly neutralizing antibodies (BNAbs).
How it works
These specialized proteins attach to the tips of the HIV surface and can neutralize several strains of the virus.
But, to produce this specific type of antibodies is not so easy.
It will be necessary to first activate the B lymphocytes responsible for the secretion of these antibodies.
"We and others [researchers] have postulated for many years that, to induce bnAbs, you must start the process by activating the right B cells - cells that have special properties that give them the potential to grow into bnAb-secreting cells," explained William Schief, professor and immunologist at Scripps Research and executive director of vaccine design at the IAVI Neutralizing Antibody Center.
For the next steps, the research institutes have entered into a partnership with the modern biotechnology company to develop an mRNA-based vaccine capable of producing this immune response against HIV.
For decades, science has unsuccessfully tried to develop an effective HIV vaccine.
The researchers believe that the strategy used in this clinical study can be applied in the development of vaccines against other diseases, such as influenza, dengue, Zika, hepatitis C and malaria.