Over 6000 people are infected with the Human Immunodeficiency virus each day. After scientists have unsuccessfully tried to develop an HIV vaccine for 40 years. But this might soon change. A new promising HIV vaccine might finally cure the world of HIV.
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HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is a virus which causes the Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. HIV is mostly transmitted by sharing injection drug equipment or unprotected sexual intercourse. HIV infects CD4+ T cells and integrates its genetic information into the host cell. The infection of HIV is often not recognized for years. Once enough T cells are destroyed, however, AIDS breaks out. Symptoms of AIDS include recurring fever, weight loss, skin rashes and persistent white lesions on the tongue or mouth. Without intervention AIDS is fatal.
There are several reasons why there has not been an HIV vaccine so far. To make an HIV vaccine we need a proper immune response. However, our immune system is often not able to recognize HIV. Moreover, HIV is highly diverse as it has a high mutation rate. As a consequence, a single classical HIV vaccine might not protect against all HIV particles.
A few years ago broadly neutralizing antibodies were discovered. Broadly neutralizing antibodies recognize conserved proteins on the surface of HIV. Unfortunately only a rare B Cell poplation can make broadly neutralizing antibodies. But scientists managed to make an HIV vaccine where broadly neutralizing antibodies are produced in 97% of cases (in a clinical phase I trial, IAVI G001). These promising results might soon lead to an effective HIV vaccine.
1:10-3:20 How HIV Infections Work
3:20-6:09 Why HIV Vaccines are Challenging
6:09-9:20 HIV Vaccine 2021
For your reading:
Haynes, Barton F., and Dennis R. Burton. “Developing an HIV vaccine.” Science 355.6330 (2017): 1129-1130.
Havenar-Daughton, Colin, et al. “The human naive B cell repertoire contains distinct subclasses for a germline-targeting HIV-1 vaccine immunogen.” Science translational medicine 10.448 (2018).
BURTON, Dennis R., et al. A blueprint for HIV vaccine discovery. Cell host & microbe, 2012, 12. Jg., Nr. 4, S. 396-407.
Some pictures were derived from Servier Medical Art by Servier. You can find over 3000 free medical images here:
HIV by Christoph Scholz, CC BY-SA 2.0
HIV-infected T Cells by NIAID CC BY 2.0
Title: Danse Morialta by Kevin MacLeod (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 )
Title: Bread (Prod. by Lukrembo) jazz type beat “marshmallow”
Title: Rudolph by Lukrembro
Title: Art of Silence by Uniq
Title: Outside Visitors, The Illstrumentalist
About Clemens Steinek:
CLEMENS STEINEK is a PhD student/youtuber (LifeLabLearner) who is currently conducting stem cell research in Germany.
Originally published here
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