Researchers Closer Now to HIV Vaccine Than Ever Before

In a new report, researchers look back on the 30-year effort to develop an HIV vaccine.

HIV Vaccine

In a global pandemic, the medical community rises up to find a cure.

With viral diseases, that cure often takes the form of a vaccine. But with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the quest for such a vaccine has been a 30-year journey.

In a new report published in Science, researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) took a look back at the past three decades of research and action into an HIV vaccine.

Although the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic is often associated with the 1980s and early 1990s, AIDS and HIV are still very much a part of many lives in the United States and around the world.

A vaccine against HIV would help millions.

“Obviously, a vaccine for HIV is one of the most important goals that we have if we want to durably end the AIDS epidemic,” said report co-author Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the NIAID. “I think we’re doing a very good job of decreasing death and infections, even in the absence of a vaccine.”

About 1.2 million Americans were living with HIV at the end of 2011, the most recent year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has data for. Across the world, there were about 35 million people living with HIV in 2013.

 “A vaccine, as with all viral diseases, will really be the nail in the coffin for HIV,” Fauci said.

The medical and research community isn’t there yet, but it’s getting close, he added.