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Are We Getting Close to an AIDS Vaccine?

Are We Getting Close to an AIDS Vaccine?


After nearly 35 years, a scientific breakthrough gives new hope

Scientists working on a compound to block HIV infection are so pleased with its success rate in monkeys, that they're hoping to develop it into a working human vaccination for AIDS. Michael Farzan, lead author on the study pursued in conjunction with scientists across the world, described the new compound as "the broadest and most potent entry inhibitor described so far."

It's a truly novel approach to fighting the disease, which targets the body's white blood cells instead of the HIV itself. In essence, it clamps itself to healthy antibodies, preventing the disease from doing so itself. As explained in the New York Times, this means that "the virus becomes helpless and drifts off unattached into eventual oblivion by the immune system."

The paper outlines three stages of tests on people, beginning with HIV positive patients who are not taking antiretroviral pills and moving onto high-risk populations, like gay men who engage in unprotected, anonymous sex.

Overall, this is a remarkable step towards finding a cure to a pandemic that has ravaged the gay community for more than three decades and has resulted in the death of more than 39 million worldwide.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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