February 19, 2010

HIV Vaccine?

Filed under: Uncategorized — taddaniels @ 3:06 pm

Breaking news today is the announcement of the HIV vaccine by VIRxSYS. Like any vaccine, it is simply the deactivated virus that is injected into the patient, so that the body will naturally create antibodies against the virus. If a patient comes in contact with the virus after the body has antibodies, then it will be able to attack the virus before serious symptoms arise.

This is revolutionary because HIV is a retrovirus. This means that its genome (the genetic material that makes up the virus) is very simple and can change very quickly. It is similar to flu, where you have to get a vaccine every year, in order that it might be effective, as oppose to polio, TB, and others that you can get once in your life to be covered.

Because it is changing, the vaccine has to also change. If it is like the flu virus, there will have to be someone who has to “guess” which strains will be effective in the coming year. When it comes to the flu virus, there is a woman in Atlanta at the CDC HQ, who, with her team, picks three strains of the flu that are most likely to be active in the coming season. Anyone can see that this is a faulty system, but it is the best one we have right now.

There is always the possibility that creating the vaccine will cause the virus to become worse as it changes. This is a slight risk that we take when we accept vaccines, and so far it has not been deadly. I am hopeful that this vaccine will prove to have some major impact on this global epidemic and this virus can be wiped from the face of the earth.


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