The CDC estimates that there are over 1.1 million Americans infected with HIV. Of this number, 1 out of 6 are not even aware they are infected. While HIV is not quite as high-profile as it once was in public health, there are still roughly 50,000 new diagnoses made every year.
Swiss-based leading virosome-based vaccine developer Mymetics Corporation has just announced exciting progress for a pipeline HIV vaccine that builds on the highly impressive results of a previously completed study. This month marks the vaccine’s progression to a preclinical study on rhesus monkeys, to be led by Dr. Ruth Ruprecht, the Director of the Texas Biomed AIDS Research Program at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute. The two experimental groups of 12 monkeys each will receive one of two antigen vaccination regimens, proceeded by intra-vaginal instillations of a live virus.
The company utilized previous findings on certain individuals exhibiting a sort of “immunity” to HIV, despite having repetitive exposure to the virus. These people were noted to have elevated levels of a type of IgA that targets the HIV gp41 protein in their bodily secretions. These findings are a step closer to providing billions of people dual protection against HIV through mucosal protection and antibody formation.
In other news on novel protection against HIV, researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston are growing Vaginal Epithelial Cells (VEC), at the same time simulating suitable conditions for the proliferation of the normal Vaginal Microbiome (VMB). According to past findings, VMB contains potentially protective bacteria against sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, and has even shown the ability to inhibit pathogen replication.