Spanish scientists at the National Biotech Centre in Madrid say a new vaccine could reduce HIV to a "minor chronic infection."
The researchers report that 90% of participants given the MVA-B vaccine showed an immune response to the virus and 85% kept the immunity a year later.
According to a press release from The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC):
The success of this vaccine, CSIC's patent, is based on the capability of human's immune system to learn how to react over time against virus particles and infected cells. “MVA‐B vaccine has proven to be as powerful as any other vaccine currently being studied, or even more,” says Mariano Esteban, head researcher.
MVA‐B is an attenuated virus, which has already been used in the past to eradicate smallpox, and also as a model in the research of many other vaccines. The “B” stands for the HIV subtype it is meant to work against, the most common in Europe.
Once injected, the vaccine teaches the volunteer's immune system to track down and fight off the virus. "It is like showing a picture of the HIV so that it is able to recognize it if it sees it again in the future," Esteban says.
The researcher added “If this genetic cocktail passes Phase II and Phase III future clinic trials, and makes it into production, in the future HIV could be compared to herpes virus nowadays."
In other HIV news, a group of European economists says adult male circumcision is not the most cost-effective solution for stopping the disease and resources should be directed towards other options like finding an HIV vaccine, infant male circumcision, removing the risk of infection from blood transfusions, and stopping mother-to-child transmission of the virus.
USA Today reports that Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, told a group meeting at Georgetown University, "We need to spend money on things we know work," and added, "Making blood transfusions safe costs almost nothing, but we're not doing it."