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.
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.
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
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)
Drugs 1 to 5 form one
6 the 2nd group
7 to 9 the 3rd
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
in Development of Vaccine Against
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
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
Killed whole virus can also be
risky as one cannot determine if all the viral particles are
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
CD8 cellular vaccine cannot make
body immune against HIV as HIV itself is immune to the CD8 cellular
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
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
infection can be kept at bay.
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- The Indiaparenting Team