Doctor who invented HIV blood test now has a vaccine that could beat the virus

Doctor who invented HIV blood test now has a vaccine that could beat the virus
(Picture: AP Photo/Gail Burton)

A scientist may have just found the vaccine to beat HIV.

Dr Robert Gallo is one of the scientists who co-discovered that the HIV virus causes AIDS in 1984 and also pioneered the blood test to detect it.

Thirty-one years later, he and his team are beginning human trials on a potentially revolutionary HIV vaccine this month, at the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Institute of Human Virology.

The team have been working on the vaccine for the past 15 years and have already tested it on monkeys.

HIV infection, artwork
HIV infection, artwork

At an event in Baltimore, Dr Gallo said: ‘The results in monkeys are interesting, but they’re not perfect if we keep just using monkeys, we’re never going anywhere. We need for humans to respond.’

Vaccines typically target specific strains of HIV, but this works by attempting to block the HIV virus before it can invade the bodies T-Cells.

Once the virus enters the T-Cells it becomes almost invisible to the body’s immune system, making it a lot more harder to treat.

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In a statement, Dr Gallo said: ‘Our HIV/AIDS vaccine candidate is designed to bind to the virus at the moment of infection, when many of the different strains of HIV found around the world can be neutralized.

‘We believe this mechanism is a major prerequisite for an effective HIV preventive vaccine.’

If this treatment clears the first trial phase, it will move on to Phase 2, at which point researchers will assess its effectiveness against HIV. But it could take years before it’s for sale.