Back HIV Prevention HIV Vaccines Is an HIV Vaccine Necessary to End AIDS?

Is an HIV Vaccine Necessary to End AIDS?

alt

Expanded access to antiretroviral therapy for treatment and prevention, along with other proven prevention strategies, could conceivably end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but goal would be achieved much faster if an even modestly effective HIV vaccine were available, Anthony Fauci and Hilary Marston from the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) wrote in the February 6 New England Journal of Medicine.

"Ultimately, we believe, the only guarantee of a sustained end of the AIDS pandemic lies in a combination of non-vaccine prevention methods and the development and deployment of a safe and sufficiently effective HIV vaccine," Fauci and Marston concluded.

Below is an edited excerpt from a National Institutes of Health/NIAID press release describing Fauci's points in more detail.

Durable End to AIDS Will Require HIV Vaccine Development

Recent Scientific Advances Offer Promising Areas for Further Exploration  

Broader global access to lifesaving antiretroviral therapies and wider implementation of proven HIV prevention strategies could potentially control and perhaps end the HIV/AIDS pandemic. However, a safe and at least moderately effective HIV vaccine is needed to reach this goal more expeditiously and in a more sustainable way, according to a new commentary from Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and colleague Hilary D. Marston, MD, MPH.

In the piece, the authors note that behavioral, cultural and legal factors have hindered HIV prevention and treatment efforts and explain why those factors necessitate the development of an HIV vaccine. Although attempts to develop a vaccine have so far proven disappointing, recent advances offer encouraging areas for HIV vaccine researchers to pursue, according to the authors.

Notably, the discovery of naturally occurring broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV and studies of their stimulation in infected individuals have opened new avenues in vaccine development. Using improved understanding of those antibodies and the specific sites on HIV to which they bind, the natural process of antibody evolution could be replicated and greatly expedited allowing protection against initial infection. Significant advances also have been made in understanding T-cell responses that may be important to vaccine-induced immunity against HIV.

The authors conclude that, "the HIV prevention community should hold fast to its commitment to vaccine science. Ultimately, we believe, the only guarantee of a sustained end of the AIDS pandemic lies in a combination of non-vaccine prevention methods and the development and deployment of a safe and sufficiently effective HIV vaccine."

2/7/14

Reference

AS Fauci and HD Marston. Ending AIDS -- Is an HIV vaccine necessary? New England Journal of Medicine 370(6):495-498. February 6, 2014.

Other Source

National Institutes of Health/NIAID. Durable End to AIDS Will Require HIV Vaccine Development. NIH News Press release. February 5, 2014.