New Hope for HIV Prevention as Vaccine Trial Commences in South Africa

Afaf Fahchouch
Afaf Fahchouch
2 Min Read

South Africa and the United States have embarked on a significant initiative to evaluate the effectiveness of a new preventive vaccine against HIV.

The vaccine in question, known as VIR-1388, has been meticulously designed to harness the power of T lymphocytes within the body’s immune system.

T lymphocytes play a crucial role in patrolling and inspecting other cells for potential issues, including the presence of viruses. The primary goal of VIR-1388 is to educate the immune system, encouraging it to generate T lymphocytes capable of recognizing HIV.

These specialized T lymphocytes then trigger an immune response, thwarting the virus’s attempts to establish a chronic infection in the body.

This groundbreaking vaccine trial is generously funded by a coalition of organizations committed to the fight against HIV/AIDS: the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the American company Vir Biotechnology. The study will involve the participation of 95 currently HIV-negative individuals.

Participants will be recruited from four sites in South Africa and six sites in the United States, emphasizing global collaboration in the fight against this devastating virus. The expected results of this vaccine trial are set to be unveiled by late 2024.

However, it’s important to note that a portion of the trial participants will remain engaged for three years, ensuring that the long-term effectiveness of the vaccine is carefully assessed.

It’s worth recalling that in 2020, the NIH halted testing of another HIV vaccine in South Africa after a thorough review revealed its ineffectiveness in preventing HIV transmission.

This serves as a reminder of the persistent challenges researchers face in developing an effective HIV vaccine and the importance of ongoing efforts to combat this global health crisis.


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