HIV Vaccine Research
For more than 10 years, researchers have been trying to find an effective way to create an HIV vaccine. The HIV vaccine research has centered around understanding how HIV enters cells to infect them and trying to stimulate antibodies to neutralize the disease and prevent it from entering cells. However, results have only been partially effective against the disease as a whole, with HIV vaccine candidates neutralizing only a fraction of the different HIV strains that exist.
The HIV virus binds to a receptor in a cell to enter it. After entering the cell, it inserts its own single-stranded RNA into the cell, which transforms the cell into a factory that manufactures more of the HIV virus and begins a massive process of infection. What researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida have done is to manufacture a new protein that is also a receptor for HIV. But when HIV binds to it, the new protein prevents it from entering the cell. This could be an alternative to a traditional HIV vaccine.
New Engineered Protein
The team created a new drug with the engineered protein. The drug was more effective than any HIV vaccine developed so far. It blocked every strain of HIV-1, HIV-2 and simian immunodeficiency virus, or SIV. For at least eight months after introducing the drug, it was found to protect against doses of the HIV virus substantially higher than what normally occurs in humans.
While it might be years before the drug can tested on humans, the progress is encouraging. After introducing the drug by attaching it to a harmless virus, the virus turns cells into manufacturers of the HIV-binding protein that could potentially protect someone for decades.
Anonymous HIV Testing
If you’re sexually active and at risk for contracting HIV, you should get tested on a regular basis until there is an HIV vaccine available. There are many treatment options available today that enable those living with the disease to lead normal lives. But you have to get treatment, and to know that you need treatment, you have to get tested. Find out your status!
Follow our free guide to get an anonymous test for HIV or any other sexually-transmitted disease and keep your test results confidential. By law, your doctor must report your name and other personal information to the state health department if you test positive for HIV or another STD.