HIV vaccine: Oregon research on monkeys shows promise

HIV vaccine: Oregon research on monkeys shows promise

PORTLAND, Ore. - Rearch in Oregon on primates shows promise of leading to a human vaccine for HIV, Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland says.

The OHSU Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute researchers tested their vaccine in rhesus macaque monkeys at the Oregon National Primate Research Center using a monkey form of HIV called Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV).

A year after exposure, the immune systems of a majority of the animals that received the vaccine had kept SIV under control. The control group that did not receive the vaccine had developed monkey AIDS.

Results of the study have been published in the online edition of the journal Nature. The paper will also be published in an upcoming print addition of the journal.

"The researchers say that their work suggests that the immune responses elicited by this new vaccine candidate might completely clear SIV from animals that were initially infected," OHSU said in a press release. "In comparison, antiretroviral therapy is able to control the disease, but cannot clear the virus from its hiding place within the immune systems own cells."

The VGTI team has been working for over 10 years on its vaccine.

“The next step in vaccine development is to test the vaccine candidate in clinical trials in humans. For a human vaccine the (Cytomegalovirus) vector would be weakened sufficiently so that it does not cause illness, but will still protect against HIV,” said Dr. Louis J. Picker.

The National Institutes of Health and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative provided funding for this research.