PORTLAND, Ore. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— September 18th is National HIV, Aids, and Aging Awareness Day. This day brings attention to the growing number of people living long and full lives with HIV. More than 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV and even though there is no cure, new advances in treatments make the disease no longer a death sentence. But now, new developments on the prevention side may stop people from being infected with HIV. Preventing HIV
Forty-five-year-old Maricela Berumen uses painting as therapy.
“It’s my own way of escape from stressful times,” Maricela told Ivanhoe.
One of those stressful times was 18 years ago when she found out she and her husband tested positive for HIV.
Maricela Berumen explained, “I was just thinking how quickly can I get up and go home and get my son tested.”
Her son tested negative, but the risk of infection is still high. That’s why researchers at Oregon Health and Science University have developed a vaccine candidate that may stop HIV in its tracks by using another virus, CMV.
“So, this virus, CMV, will persist and keep stimulating your immune response and what that does is creates sort of a lifelong shield,” Klaus Frueh, PhD, a professor at Oregon Health and Science University, shared.
The vaccine was first tested on monkeys, on the monkey form of HIV called SIV.
“At least 50 to 60 percent of them will stop the infection and infection actually goes away over time,”
Louis Picker, MD an associate director of vaccine and gene therapy institute at Oregon Health & Science University, noted.
Now the vaccine is in a phase one clinical trial in humans.
Klaus Frueh elaborated, “This is a completely new way of targeting it. That’s why we think this vaccine is so unique.”
If successful, the vaccine would be geared towards people at high-risk of contracting HIV not those who currently have the disease. But Maricela sees this as a step closer to finding a cure for HIV.
“HIV doesn’t have me. I have HIV. I’m not going to give up,” said Maricela.
And neither will these researchers.
Through medication, Maricela and her husband have been able to control the disease. The researchers say this vaccine platform can also be used on other diseases, such as hepatitis viruses, tuberculosis and even cancer. OHSU is not involved in this phase one trial that is sponsored by VIR biotechnology.
Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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TOPIC: CMV…SIV…PREVENTING HIV
REPORT: MB #4954
HIV BACKGROUND: HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus that attacks the bodies immune system. HIV can develop into AIDS, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, which is a more deadly virus. Currently, there is no effective cure. Once the patient develops HIV, they have it for life. HIV can be controlled with proper medical care, and patients canlive a long life and protect their partners from contracting the disease through treatments. The stages of HIV are Acute HIV Infection, Chronic HIV Infection, and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). If a patient gets to the third stage of HIV, AIDS, then their life expectancy drastically falls because their immune system is highly compromised.
HIV DIAGNOSING: Symptoms of HIV are fever, chills, rash, night sweats, muscle aches, sore throat, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and mouth ulcers. Patients can have flu-like symptoms develop after two to four weeks after being exposed to the virus. The only way to be sure it is the HIV virus causing these symptoms is to get tested. Getting tested for HIV is not only important for the patient but also any partners the patient may have currently or in the future. People should also get tested regularly for HIV because the virus can show no symptoms and remain dormant in the patient’s system.
HIV NEW TREATMENT: There is currently no vaccine that will prevent HIV; however, scientists are working to develop a vaccine because it could also help prevent the spread of AIDS. New findings for HIV prevention have been found. Rather than a daily oral pill, which people are likely to miss at times, more stable alternatives have been suggested that are less frequent and therefore do not rely on the patient as much. Some of these alternatives are a monthly insertable vaginal ring, injections that could provide HIV prevention lasting one, two, or six months, implants that slowly release an HIV prevention drug for up to one year, or an oral pill that could provide protection for 30 days. These options could make protection more convenient for the patient and in turn provide a lower risk of spreading the disease. Researchers are also continuing to study monoclonal antibodies and whether they can be used to create a vaccine for HIV. They are still exploring how different combinations of several antibodies may work together in order to create a long-term preventative dosage for the HIV virus.
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