Prince Harry on the ‘resilience’ of those living with HIV/AIDS
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While existing treatments for HIV have been revolutionary in being able to treat the virus, they haven’t been able to entirely kill off the virus. But now, that could be changing.A team of researchers from the Tsukuba Primate Research Center in Japan have said that human testing of their new vaccine could start within just five years. Current treatments can significantly mute the negative effects that HIV has on human health, but the new vaccine uses a special bacterium that strengthens the immune response and weakens the AIDS-causing virus.
This offers fresh hope that the virus could be killed off altogether.
To test it, the researchers took seven crab-eating macaque test subjects who became infected with simian-HIV.
But tests were unable to actually detect the virus.
And even after the monkeys were injected with a stronger virus that could prove fatal otherwise, the virus still disappeared without a trace in six of the seven test subjects.
The Japanese researchers are now hoping they can use HIV taken from patients who are undergoing drug treatment to come up with a vaccine intended for humans.
But this is not the only example of researchers scrambling to come up with an HIV vaccine.
US-based pharmaceutical company Moderna has also recently begun trials for its mRNA-based HIV vaccine, which uses the same technology seen in its COVID-19 vaccine.
While becoming infected with HIV used to be a death sentence, over the years living with HIV once infected has become more and more manageable.
But the new vaccines could signal a complete eradication of the virus once and for all.
The first reports of a strange virus first appeared in New York and California in 1981, when little was known about the disease.
By 1982, the disease was given the name immune deficiency syndrome or AIDS.
And in 1983, scientists discovered that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes AIDS.
In the Sixties, researchers discovered that a failed cancer drug, zidovudine, stopped HIV from multiplying and helped people with AIDS live longer.
But by the NIneties s, with AIDS becoming the main cause of death in young Americans, a new treatment was desperately needed.
In 1995, the FDA approved saquinavir, the first in a different anti-HIV (antiretroviral) drug class called protease inhibitors.
These drugs paved the way to a new era of combination therapy for HIV/AIDS.
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Now, there are more than 30 HIV medications available.
Many of the treatments allow people are to control their HIV by taking just one pill a day.
With the right treatment, they allow people who are HIV positive can live a normal life span.
But with a new vaccine representing the first time the virus may be able to be killed off, it could mean that even these treatments won’t be needed anymore.
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