HIV/AIDS vax 'leapfrogs' immune system

A team of scientists says that inserting a gene into muscle successfully spurred production of antibodies that fought off HIV/AIDS in both mice and monkeys, offering an intriguing new approach to developing a vaccine for one of the world's deadlist killers.

"We used a leapfrog strategy, bypassing the natural immune system response that was the target of all previous HIV and SIV vaccine candidates," Dr. Philip R. Johnson of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia told reporters. "Some years ago I came to the conclusion that HIV was different from other viruses for which we were trying to develop vaccines and we and might not ever be able to use traditional approaches."

Johnson's technique involved using a harmless adeno-associated virus to deliver an engineered DNA into the muscles of monkeys, spurring the protein production. Of nine monkeys tested, six never developed HIV and the others never developed AIDS. Developing a vaccine for use against HIV/AIDS has so far proven fruitless, despite decades of work.

- read the report from RedOrbit

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