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You are here : home > Sex Education > AIDS > What is hindering the discovery of vaccines against HIV?

What is hindering the discovery of vaccines against HIV?


Is it possible to get vaccinated against disease like AIDS? Read on to find out why is it is difficult to develop a vaccination against HIV.


As with all viral infections HIV too has a very small armamentarium of drugs against it. Since viruses multiply within living human cells, drugs to act on them, have to damage the human cell as well.

Viruses being extremely small and having a very simple structure, drugs have a few sites to act on (unlike as in bacteria, where they can act on the cell wall, the nucleus, the cytoplasm, the organells etc.) to disable them.

As for the vaccines, they help us fight diseases by acting on the immune system. Unfortunately in AIDS it is this immune system itself, which is under attack. Secondly, the virus (like the common cold virus) is known to alter its structure when inside the body thereby rendering the vaccine useless. This is so because the vaccine is very specific and only on a fixed and similar structure. Even a minute change renders the vaccine ineffective. Naturally it is difficult to synthesise vaccines against all the structural variations.


Antiretroviral Therapy (Drugs Useful In Aids)

  1. Azidothymidine
  2. Zidovudine
  3. Didanosine
  4. Zulcitabine
  5. Lamivudine
  6. Nevirapine
  7. Saquinavir
  8. Ritonavir
  9. Indinavir
Note:
  • Drugs 1 to 5 form one group

  • 6 the 2nd group

  • 7 to 9 the 3rd group
Different group drugs act at different sites and by different mechanisms thereby killing the virus.

What is now being promoted is a cocktail of drugs from 2 or more different groups.


Hurdles in Development of Vaccine Against HIV

Pioneering HIV scientist Robert Gallo has pointed out factors that are hindering the discovery of vaccines against HIV. He has also made some recommendations that can support the further research. Let us take a look at them.
  • HIV is a retrovirus and attempt to develop vaccine against retrovirus has not been carried out in past. 

  • While developing vaccine it is not possible to know its effects on humans as the immune effects on the animal models may be different from humans.

  • It is difficult to find out that the protection can be secured from which immune response, which is one of the major issues.

  • It is not possible to have actively replicating (live) HIV or attenuated HIV in its vaccine due to the chances of reactivation.

  • The possibility of killed whole virus to work is also very low as it has not worked satisfactorily in the animal studies.

  • Killed whole virus can also be risky as one cannot determine if all the viral particles are killed.

  • CD8 cellular vaccine is incapable of acting in the early stages of infection. It works in the chronic stage by reducing the viral load. It is not capable of controlling infections transmitted by people who are severely infected.

  • CD8 cellular vaccine cannot make body immune against HIV as HIV itself is immune to the CD8 cellular response.
According to the scientist Robert Gallo, the goal which should be chased while developing a vaccine for HIV should be sterilising immunity. The only practical way to achieve this would be to by eliciting neutralising antibodies which are reactive to different HIV strains to a greater extent.

Till today no vaccine has been developed that can help the human body develop immunity against HIV. But, in near future, it is expected that scientists and researchers will surely find a solution. In the meanwhile it is necessary to take all the required precautions so that HIV infection can be kept at bay.

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Timmy.6 years ago
The information on drugs useful in AIDS was really good but do these drugs help in curing AIDS. When should these drugs be taken? Is it now possible to prevent AIDS with the help of these drugs?
 
 
 
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Andreus.6 years ago
The information on HIV was worth reading… Now I know why no vaccine is developed against this disease. It needs a lot of research to find an effective cure for HIV. Till then have safe sex…
 
 
 
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rilon.6 years ago
It is really sad that no permanent cure for aids has been found. Aids is causing more death than any other disease. What we need is a massive awareness programs.
 
 
 
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Poomina.10 years ago
i am an american educated person. but, i feel that some of the words to describe the illness and in the article in general were to big and difficult to understand. i do not have a medical background and i am sure alot of other people reading this article don't either. simple wording, in terms that are easy to understand, i feel would be better.

thank you.
 
 
 
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NONE.10 years ago
really nice article for the laymen to understand what this actually is and how does it work and affects us..
 
 
 
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ANONYMOUS.10 years ago
described very nicely about aids.
 
 
 
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kylina.10 years ago
i think aids is the worst disease i think it is fascinating to read and learn about i want to everything about aids that i can
 
 
 
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doubht.10 years ago
can aids transmit through saliva as mentioned?
then we can't share the same utensils like glass/plate, right?
 
 
 
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raj.10 years ago
dear members of the forum i am looking for your valuable advise pls.
i have recently tested hiv+ and luckly my wife has tested -ve.
with the advancement of medical technology it is now possible to have a baby for the mixed status couple without the other couple geting infected.
1)can any of you please advise if there is sperm washing technology available in hyderabad ?
2)can you pls let me know the address and the contact details of dr. roya rozati please.
3)can one you please suggest the best ivf -isci
clinic in hyderabad
any information would be very helpful
 
 
 
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RICKY.10 years ago
aids is very dangerous diseases and plz use condom for saver life. bcos life gaves u only one time>>>>>?
 
 
 
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