Newly released research could lead to vaccine for HIV


Newly released research led by Penn State Health could help with the development of a vaccine for HIV. 

The deadly virus affects millions of people across the globe. Researchers are now one step closer to preventing it.

“I personally believe there will be soon a vaccine. It’s not going to be a traditional, sort of in a traditional sense vaccine, that you just have a simple thing that you inject in the body and the body will generate a response. It’s going to be rather a cocktail of epitopes because there are an unpredictable number of strains,” said Nikolay Dokholyan, a researcher and Department of Pharmacology professor.

That’s because researchers have found a new way to create proteins that can essentially sneak through HIV’s protective coating. Researchers believe the vaccine is still a few years away, as more tests need to be done.

“We tested the virus that infects humans, but we tested them in cell cultures,” said Dokholyan.

Recently, doctors reported a London man was apparently free of HIV after a stem cell transplant, the second such success with the therapy.

“That strategy’s about the cure of HIV. We have been working on preventing HIV infection by creating an inner defense mechanism, that even if a person gets infected, the infection is not going to latch to your body,” said Dokholyan.

Researchers believe this protein design method could help create vaccines for other diseases down the road. 

The National Institutes of Health helped support the research. The study was published in Nature Communications.

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