A team of scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory are reporting a breakthrough in the effort to develop an HIV vaccine. The research used what’s called a mosaic vaccine, which showed some test animals had protection when exposed to the infection.
The study, which was conducted on 36 monkeys, has provided new insight into vaccines that could eventually protect humans from infection.
LANL scientist Bette Korber said that a mosaic vaccine, unlike traditional vaccines, is designed to respond to the large variety of HIV viruses that exist.
“HIV evolves incredibly quickly,” Korber explained. “It evolves in every single infected person. It gets variants. So we wanted to make a vaccine that would work against all of them, or at least most of them. And that’s really what’s different about this vaccine, it’s really a global vaccine.”
Though each of the test subjects did eventually develop HIV, the monkeys treated with the vaccine showed a higher resistance against the disease after repeated exposure.
The results of the study are published in the journal Cell. Korber said the next step is to begin testing the immune responses of humans.