Summing the Parts

Vaccine against HIV-1 holds promise

Annually, nearly two million people worldwide become infected with HIV-1. Yet, during the more than 30-year search for a safe, effective, long-acting vaccine against the virus, only four concepts have been developed, none of which has been licensed for use. Now, a promising fifth has been reported by an international team led by HMS researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The vaccine, a mosaic built of genetic sequences drawn from various HIV strains and tested in both humans and nonhuman primates, induced robust responses and was well-tolerated. In the nonhuman animals, it provided 67 percent protection against the acquisition of infection. Phase two trials of the vaccine are now planned.

Barouch DH, et al., The Lancet, July 2018

HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, colorized as yellow, preferentially attacks human T cells (blue). T cells are critical in the body’s immune defense against viruses and bacteria.

Image: Seth Pincus, Elizabeth Fischer, and Austin Athman/NIAID/NIH