BY TARA CULP-RESSLER
A team of Spanish researchers say they have made an important breakthrough in HIV research, developing a new vaccine against the virus that is significantly more effective than earlier attempts. Advancing vaccine research could eventually eliminate the need for the expensive methods currently used to treat HIV-positive individuals.
Researchers tested the vaccine on randomly selected HIV-positive individuals who were already taking highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) medications, the most scientifically advanced form of treatment currently available to combat the virus. They wanted to see if, rather than simply suppressing the effects of the virus with outside treatment, their vaccine could lead the human immune system to coordinate its own defense against HIV — and they succeeded, seeing some subjects’ HIV viral loads drop more than 90 percent after 12 weeks of the trial.
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