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Vaccine Shields Monkeys From Simian Form of HIV
Date:5/17/2009

ompted the muscles to produce antibodies that were released into the bloodstream and began attacking the SIV.

After being exposed to SIV four weeks later, six of the nine monkeys appeared to be fully protected from infection because they remained completely uninfected, and none of the nine immunized monkeys went on to develop AIDS or died from exposure to the virus, the researchers reported.

In contrast, six non-immunized monkeys exposed to SIV all became infected, and two-thirds died.

Johnson and his team concluded that their immunization strategy triggered the development of long-lasting and complete protection against SIV infection among monkeys.

"I'm not about to over-hype this," Johnson cautioned. "But we are continuing our work with monkeys in parallel with moving forward to begin human trials in two years, if everything goes perfectly with our work with the FDA to develop safety preparations, which is absolutely appropriate. And if the immunization trials work, then you have another few years to gear up. So, in the best of all possible worlds, you're looking at five years down the road for a practical benefit for patients. But, scientifically, we believe we are on the right track."

Rowena Johnston, director of research at the Foundation for AIDS Research in New York City, described the work as "one of the most interesting and potentially promising concepts to come out of the vaccine field in quite a while."

"They've cut straight to the chase and eliminated the middle man," she explained. "That is the really exciting thing they've done. We already all know that the traditional approaches to a vaccine won't work for HIV. And so HIV is a field where researchers are required to come up with ideas that nobody has needed to think about before, and that is where the challenge is. And here what they've done is to get antibodies to the virus themselves being produced directly, rather than waiting for the ver
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