Scientists have overcome a major stumbling block in HIV treatment and a vaccine may soon be on its way. The big hurdle has been the inability to generate immune cells that stay in circulation long enough to stop AIDS virus spreading. The problem has been solved as they have been able to unblock a process linked to an HIV protein that was halting the production of antibody-generating ‘B-cells’ from the immune system.
Professor Jonathan Heeney from Cambridge University said that for a vaccine to work, its effects need to be long lasting. According to him, it is not practical to require people to come back every six 12 months to be vaccinated. They wanted to develop a vaccine to overcome this block and generate these long lived antibody producing cells.
The scientists said that they have been able to manage this and have found a way to greatly improve B-cell responses to an HIV vaccine.