A new HIV vaccination, developed by Dr. Louis Picker and his team of researchers at Oregon Health & Science University, is ready for clinical testing on humans. Picker and his team are now in the process of recruiting healthy participants for those trials.
The vaccine is derived from cytomegalovirus, or CMV, a strain of herpes. According to Oregon Live, Cytomegalovirus naturally puts T cells – the cells HIV attacks and kills – on alert, so introducing strains of cytomegalovirus into the body that have been engineered to look like HIV will train the body to attack HIV. Cytomegalovirus effects around 80 percent of the population and rarely becomes symptomatic. Participants in the trials will be screened for CMV and HIV. The vaccine will not be effective for people who already have the virus.
The vaccine has effectively treated 50 to 60 percent of monkeys in animals trials. However, even if the human trials are successful, the vaccination is a long way off from being available to the general population. As is often the case with new drugs and medicines, the researchers are projecting it will take another decade and millions of dollars to get the vaccine on the market. However, it is also common for one treatment to be used for more than one illness, and the team is hoping that should the vaccine be authorized for use on humans, it can be used to treat other diseases including tuberculosis, hepatitis C and the herpes virus, although the use of the vaccine against these other viruses will require additional trials.