The scientific community has relentlessly been in pursuit of an effective vaccine against HIV infection. With a competent vaccine in the arsenal, researchers could buy time to find a cure. Not only that, prevention is one way to curb its spread and help contain the disease. New information on the virus is discovered on a regular basis. Putting the facts together to formulate a line of defense has taken patience and time. However, it seems there is a reason to hope that a new vaccine won’t stay a fantasy forever.

Vaccine Proves Effective in HIV Trials

A research group in China completed pre-clinical HIV trials for a vaccine meant to prevent infection that women get from men. Not only did the vaccine prove effective, it performed better than expected. In an effort to confirm these findings, a group in the U.S. repeated the HIV trials, and added some rigorous testing. The results were the same, much to the delight of the scientists.

The vaccine in question was designed to protect women from seminal being transmitted to mucous membranes. In the studies, vaginal tissues were exposed to high viral loads – up to 70,000 times more than what is found in human semen. The vaccine was successful in warding off infection. Repeat exposure was tested as well. These also were fought off with the help of the vaccine. When they increased the viral amounts to 100,000 times the normal range, the immune system was overloaded and succumbed to the viral infection.

Experts are looking into how that might affect the vaccine — and ways to make it more potent. Another positive point that pleased the researchers was that certain environmental factors were inherently different between the two studies, yet the results yielded the same outcomes. The group is confident that with this confirming study, clinical HIV trials can proceed with little worry.

When and if that does happen, it could open doors for further vaccine testing and marketing. One other goal that has been in line with producing vaccines is designing them to be ingested instead of injected. The aim is to reach people in developing countries where resources may be limited.