Exaggerated hope for an AIDS vaccine?

US AIDS researchers expect a breakthrough in the development of an AIDS vaccine in the coming years

Renowned AIDS researcher Carl Dieffenbach from the US National Institutes of Health, on the occasion of the "HIV Vaccine Awareness Day" on May 18, confirmed his hope for a breakthrough in the development of an AIDS vaccine in a video message. Although his team has been working on a vaccine against HIV for years, no effective vaccine has yet been developed. However, recent reports of success from HIV vaccine research, such as that of a Spanish research team led by Felipe Garcia from the University of Barcelona earlier this year, have raised new hopes.

Although AIDS can now be treated relatively well with modern HIV medication, millions of people worldwide still die annually from the immunodeficiency disorder. Overall, the number of HIV infections worldwide is estimated to be well over 30 million. Medical care for those affected is relatively poor, especially in the poorer African countries south of the Sahara and in some Eastern European and Southeast Asian countries. The infected often do not have access to the medicines they need and many people still die of AIDS today. In this context, Carl Dieffenbach has now referred the blog.aids.gov information portal to what he believes to be promising options for an AIDS vaccine and emphasized in his video message that research is currently "on a very good path in developing one safe, efficient vaccine against HIV ”.

HIV vaccine no help for those affected The media response to the hope of the renowned AIDS researcher to be able to present an AIDS vaccine soon appears to be clearly exaggerated in view of the actual medical significance. Because here is not a cure for AIDS presented, but only an improved prevention option, as Dieffenbach admitted. People who are already ill can no longer benefit from the vaccine. Although the number of new infections with the extensive use of an AIDS vaccine in the risk countries could possibly be reduced, the consistent use of condoms would also have a comparable effect here. Those who take prevention seriously are already at relatively low risk of infection. Education should be mentioned here as an essential tool in the fight against HIV. Because many are not aware of the contagion risks and consequences of the disease.

Promising research on AIDS vaccines? Despite the doubts expressed by various parties about the usefulness of the development of an AIDS vaccine, the US AIDS researcher Carl Dieffenbach was full of energy and announced to the news agency "AFP" new medical test runs for the coming years, whereby "two clear research axes ”would be pursued. On the one hand, there is the further development of a vaccine, which caused an immunization rate of 31 percent in trials in Thailand in 2009, and which is now being carried out together with the experts from the pharmaceutical companies Sanofi Pasteur and the pharmaceutical company Novartis, and with the support of the Bill & Melinda Foundation to develop a vaccine that can be tested in South Africa from 2014. On the other hand, his hope of the early development of an AIDS vaccine is based on the discovery of two strikingly effective antibodies in 2010. If they were able to produce a "test vaccine", this could "wipe out all strains of the HIV virus circulating worldwide", so Dieffenbach. Research here is currently concentrating on the production of certain immunogens, which can trigger a targeted immune response in the organism and thus trigger the formation of antibodies. (fp)

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The difficult fight against AIDS

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