A laboratory in California, United States managed to develop a vaccine that targets the right immune cells to fight HIV, showing great promise as the first stage of a vaccine strategy in the fight against this deadly virus – and other viral diseases.
“With our many collaborators on the study team, we showed that vaccines can be designed to stimulate rare immune cells with specific properties and this targeted stimulation can be very efficient in human,” says Dr William Schief, a professor and immunologist at Scripps Research and executive director of vaccine design at IAVI’s Neutralizing Antibody Center, the laboratory that developed the vaccine.
Forty eight healthy adults took part in the Phase 1 trials: a whopping 97% of participants developed the rare immune cells vital to generate antibodies against HIV. The clinical trial represents proof that better vaccines can be made and “applied more broadly, bringing about a new day in vaccinology,” says fellow professor Dr Dennis Burton. The same approach could be applied to vaccines for influenza, dengue, Zika, hepatitis C and malaria.