The case for HIV Vaccine

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In this story:

  • Search for HIV Vaccine continues
  • Investment into HIV vaccine research benefits other diseases

AN HIV vaccine, who research has been on going for more decades, would address challenges associated with HIV prevention and treatment such as drug adherence and access to medications as it provides long-lasting protection.

That vaccines can be administered on a mass approach ensures community immunity, which is critical at a time when more than 20 percent of people in the world living with HIV experience problems with accessing HIV treatment.

Dr Muchaneta Bhondai-Mhuri, Investigator of Record at University of Zimbabwe Clinical Trials Research Centre told a Media and Science Café on HIV Vaccine Research that vaccines could eliminate adherence and stigma problems associated with HIV treatment.

“Vaccines typically provide long-lasting protection and can be given broadly to a wide range of people, leading to community immunity. Vaccines will likely be cost-effective when compared with a lifetime of treatment.

“We also know that all HIV prevention modalities have their challenges including adherence and access. We know that a vaccine can be present in someone’s immune system for a very long time so it entails long-term prevention,” Dr Bhondai-Mhuri said.

Why do we need an HIV vaccine

Dr Bhondai-Mhuri said although some highly effective HIV prevention tools are available, the epidemic continues.

This is partly due to the challenges people face when trying to adhere to effective prevention options but it’s also because key populations —including people who inject drugs, sex workers, and adolescent girls and young women, who account for nearly half of all new infections —are less likely to access existing treatment and prevention services,

“We need to ensure that HIV prevention tools are accessible to those most in need. We also need new ways to stop the spread of HIV,” she said.

Ongoing trials and future trials

  • Multiple HIV Vaccine Trials ongoing worldwide
  • Combination Bnabs
  • HIV vaccines including improvement of old candidates and development of new candidates
  • HIV vaccines in development are in early-stage trials and holding out hope for some of these pipeline candidates.
  • UZ-CTRC part of BRILLIANT Consortium holding out hope for development and testing of HIV vaccine candidates in Africa

In the past, the   University of Zimbabwe Clinical Trials Research Centre (UZ-CTRC) banner, has participated in at least five past HIV vaccine trials since 2016, including the HVTN 703/HPTN 081/AMP Study and the Imbokodo HIV vaccine studies amongst other trials.

Dr Bhondai-Mhuri said the investment in HIV vaccine research capacity has strengthened health systems and HIV vaccine research has contributed to medical advances for other diseases, leading to longer, healthier lives for people all over the world.

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