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HIV Vaccine: Great for them, but what about us CFIDers?


Senior Member
Discovery Helps Researchers Close In on HIV Vaccine
Katie Drummond Contributor
AOL News
(July 8) -- American scientists are touting a major stride toward a vaccine that can ward off HIV, after finding two key proteins that neutralize 91 percent of the virus' 190 strains.

The team of researchers with the National Institutes of Health's Vaccine Research Center hopes the antibody discovery can spur successful work toward a method of preventing HIV, which already afflicts an estimated 33 million people worldwide.

The discovery, published in this week's Science, is courtesy of Donor 45, an unidentified African-American man whose body produced the antibodies, called VRC01 and VRC02.

This image shows the antibody VRCO1, pictured in blue and green, binding to HIV, colored gray and red.Scientists have already identified the 12 cells in his body that produced the proteins. If they can harness the mechanisms by which the antibodies were made, they might be able to create a vaccine that would spur anybody's body to make the HIV destroyers.

"We're going to be at this for a while," Gary Nabel, director of the center and a leader on this research, told The Wall Street Journal.

The last few years has seen a flurry of effort -- much of it futile -- toward creating a vaccine for HIV, much like those that helped eradicate small pox and polio. Until now, however, single antibodies only appeared to block one or two HIV strains.

Trials on the first promising vaccine, AIDSVAX, were largely a disappointment. In American and Thai trials, the vaccine yielded success rates that varied from statistically insignificant to 30 percent.

In this case, researchers seem to have found a sweet spot on the surface of the human immunodeficiency virus.

"The antibodies attach to a virtually unchanging part of the virus, and this explains why they can neutralize such an extraordinary range of HIV strains," Dr. John Mascola, one of the study's researchers, said in a statement.

Turning these newly discovered antibodies into a useful HIV vaccine remains a tall order. Scientists would need to isolate the specific part of the virus that the antibodies latch onto, then craft a vaccine using that viral snippet to train the body to produce VRC01 and VRC02.

"It's an important step in the right direction of adding a degree of precision to vaccine development," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told ABC News. "But there's no way to tell when a vaccine could happen."

Now that scientists have a better understanding of the actual virus, and areas on its surface that appear vulnerable, new tactics in treating HIV/AIDS might also be an area for further research.

"In infected people, we may be looking at it in combination with medication and determine whether you can get more effective control of the virus and suppress it down to low levels," Nabel said. "The hope would be that we could suppress the virus and increase life span and improve quality of life."


Senior Member
Sth Australia
Didnt someone here say it may be much harder to make a vaccine for us (those already sick) than in AIDS patients, IF the XMRV is the cause of all our issues as XMRV is a slow replicating virus.

They may still have a long way to go on that AIDS vaccine.


Senior Member
Here's another article:


Discovery reinvigorates quest for HIV vaccine Module body

Thu Jul 8, 6:00 PM

By Sheryl Ubelacker, Health Reporter, The Canadian Press

TORONTO - Researchers have discovered two powerful antibodies that neutralize most known strains of the AIDS virus in laboratory testing, providing a possible new direction for developing an effective vaccine to prevent the disease.

The naturally occurring antibodies, dubbed VRC01 and VRC02, were isolated from an individual with HIV who is known as a slow progressor — he is infected with the virus but has remained essentially healthy.

"The antibodies work against about 90 per cent of all of the viruses we tested," said Dr. John Mascola, deputy director of the Vaccine Research Center, part of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which led the study.

The multicentre research team, whose work is published this week in the journal Science, tested about 200 different variations of the AIDS virus, collected from infected people around the globe.

"Each virus is different and that is one of the characteristics of HIV," Mascola said from Bethesda, Md. "It's a highly mutable virus and there are literally thousands and thousands of variants of the virus circulating throughout the world at any given time, and even variants in a single individual."

What has especially excited the researchers, however, is their discovery about how a VRC antibody works to stop HIV from entering and killing key immune system cells, called CD4 T-cells.

The antibodies work by attaching themselves to a site on the virus that allows it to take over these disease-fighting cells — a site that has remained intact through countless mutations over the decades.

"The antibodies attach to a virtually unchanging part of the virus, and this explains why they can neutralize such an extraordinary range of HIV strains," said Mascola. "Antibodies like this are proof-of-concept that the human immune system can make very potent antibodies against HIV."

"And that's very important information for helping us design a vaccine."

There have been numerous attempts to develop an AIDS vaccine, but those efforts have been stymied so far because the virus mutates so quickly. For frustrated scientists, it's been akin to shooting at a moving target.

That's why, said Dr. Alan Bernstein, this discovery could be a "major breakthrough" in the quest for an AIDS vaccine.

"In a sense they have found at least one of the Achilles heels of the virus," Bernstein, executive director of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, said Thursday from New York.

"This group of investigators have found it. And not only that, they've figured out how it works ... So the big push now is how do we turn that information into thinking about a vaccine."

He said the research adds to a number of other recent discoveries, including neutralizing antibodies reported on last September by the Scripps Research Institute, which have reinvigorated the hunt for an effective vaccine.

"So I think the mood in the field has really turned around and there's a sense that we're entering a new era in HIV vaccine research based on the kinds of exciting science that's now coming out," said Bernstein, former president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Mascola said his team has already begun to design components for a candidate vaccine that could teach the human immune system to make antibodies similar to VRC01 and VRC02 that might prevent infection by the vast majority of HIV strains worldwide.

Testing would begin in small lab animals, then in non-human primates like macaques that can become infected with a simian form of the virus. If the animal results are positive, the next step would be to test the vaccine in humans. Such a trial would likely not occur for two or three years, he said.

NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a statement that the research should not only speed up efforts to find a preventive HIV vaccine, but "the technique the teams used to find the new antibodies represents a novel strategy that could be applied to vaccine design for many other infectious diseases."


XMRV+ Member
Ontario, Canada
I can only see this as good news.
I'm filing this under "if XMRV is proven part of the cause for ME/CFS ... then there's a large and growing body of useful HIV knowledge to speed up ME/CFS remedies"


Senior Member
the only reason any real money is being given to HIV eradication efforts is because they cannot develop a vaccine. of course a vaccine will save millions and is a great thing, but we still have to push for eradication and not become complacent because treatment or vaccines exist for HIV or XMRV.