“This may be our best hope for controlling the HIV pandemic.” -Dr. Marie-Claire Gauduin
Researchers at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute have applied for a patent for a one-time administered vaccine they believe will provide a lifetime’s worth of protection against the most commonly transmitted form of HIV.
The vaccine is genetically engineered, and enables the continuous production of disease fighting cells that will last a lifetime without being destroyed by the immune system. It’s important to note that this is a step towards prevention, not a cure, though huge steps towards a cure were made earlier this year.
The vaccine is administered just below the surface of the skin, which will protect it’s recipients against 90% of reported cases of HIV. This is normally the first site of contact for the virus, and thus the most crucial to protect.
“The skin is the body’s first line of defense and, if we can prevent the virus from entering the body through the skin, we can stop it before it has a chance to mutate.”
90% of aids transmission is through sexual intercourse, and that is exactly what this patent targets. This method will not protect against the other 10% of cases, which includes tainted blood transfusions or needles.
There’s still a number of hurdles ahead including patent acceptance, human trials and FDA approval, but it’s a very promising development nonetheless.
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