HIV vaccines: Plan B

linkurl:Anthony Fauci,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/13734/ director of NIH's National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), is apparently making good on the promise to "turn the knob towards discovery" in HIV vaccine research, which he made at a linkurl:meeting;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54488/ this March. The NIAID today (May 20) linkurl:announced;http://www.nih.gov/news/health/may2008/niaid-20.htm a five-year, $15.6 million project to fund rese

By | May 20, 2008

linkurl:Anthony Fauci,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/13734/ director of NIH's National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), is apparently making good on the promise to "turn the knob towards discovery" in HIV vaccine research, which he made at a linkurl:meeting;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54488/ this March. The NIAID today (May 20) linkurl:announced;http://www.nih.gov/news/health/may2008/niaid-20.htm a five-year, $15.6 million project to fund research that aims to elicit the production of broad linkurl:neutralizing antibodies;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/home/39377/ from linkurl:B cells;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/19841/ instead of targeting linkurl:T cells;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/20089/ - the approach taken by linkurl:previous vaccine efforts.;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53633/ "This program reflects our commitment to probe the fundamental science underlying HIV vaccine development," Fauci said in an NIAID release. "The study of B cells and broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV will answer pressing, basic scientific questions and bring greater balance to our portfolio of HIV vaccine discovery research." The 10 research groups funded through the program include investigators at the Scripps Research Institute, the University of California, Irvine, and Weill Cornell Medical College. According to the NIAID, the teams will share data and resources in their quest for a B cell-focused vaccine.

Comments

Avatar of: David Steele

David Steele

Posts: 1

May 21, 2008

In 1984, the whole premise supporting the claim of a new retrovirus as the probable cause of AIDS, was the promise of a vaccine within 2 years.\n\n24 years later, still no vaccine. Billions of dollars spent, still no vaccine.\n\nIn December of 2007, Anthony Fauci stated in the New England Journal of Medicine, "To be brutally honest with ourselves, we have to leave open the possibility . . . that we might not ever get a vaccine for HIV."\n\nRecently, on March 26, 2008, Fauci is quoted in a New York Times article entitled "Rethinking is Urged on a Vaccine for AIDS," as stating: "There is not an immediate solution to the problem." He also stated," [e]verything is on the table."\n \nPerhaps the problem is that AIDS researchers are barking up the wrong scientific tree. The efforts at "rethinking" is really just offering more of the same. It is paradoxical that the clinical disease is diagnosed by the detection of anti-bodies, which for some diseases would indicate a successful clearance of the offending microbe, not a future disintegration of one's immune system, opportunistic infection and death.\n\nTo truly "rethink" the issue, one must go back to first principles. Part of the definition of AIDS is "Immune Deficiency"\n\nOne could re-classify Diabetes as "Insulin Deficiency" where the course of treatment is self-evident -- give patients insulin.\n\nSame thing with AIDS. Perhaps, instead of toiling away at mimicking the virus to generate an immune response, these AIDS researchers should be trying to reconstitute the immune system of the person infected. Simply put, address the "immune deficiency," not the virus.\n\nCertainly, such effort could not be more cumbersome, expensive, wasteful and unproductive as the unending efforts to develop a vaccine.\n\nWe all share the same objective: to cure AIDS. Perhaps, as Fauci suggested some greater "rethinking" is in order.
Avatar of: ALICE G SACHS

ALICE G SACHS

Posts: 1

May 21, 2008

If there is no natural immunity to HIV, why should a vaccine help?
Avatar of: Cristina Grassi

Cristina Grassi

Posts: 2

July 11, 2008

THERE IS AN EXPLANATION FOR HIV/AIDS VACCINE TRIALS FAILURE\nAs was posted by Kerry Grens at TheScientist.com (25th September 2007), Merck halted its Phase IIb-clinical trials of an HIV vaccine. By May 20th 2008 Anthony Fauci, director of NIH´s NIAID announced a five-year $15.6 million project to fund research that aims to elicit the production of broad neutralizing antibodies from B cells instead of targeting T cells, the approach taken by previous vaccine efforts that have failed. \nA plausible explanation for this failure was included in a paper that was published in 2001 (H. C. Grassi, E. D. J. Andrade. HIV infections and AIDS development: the role of adjuvant activation. Medical Hypotheses (2001) 57(6), 693-696). Briefly, we proposed that HIV productive infections of CD4+ T cells occur mainly on activated cells and although the virus can infect both, resting and activated cells, productive infections occur mainly in the latter than in the former. In this paper we conclude that the technological development of vaccines should focus to a highly controlled and specific immune reaction. Similarly, immunotherapeutics could focus towards controlling immune activation. The rational takes into account the role of all the agents that promote cell activation (including vaccination) thus increasing productive infections. This effect was named as "adjuvant activation" or "adjuvant effect" and is consistent with the idea that any immune challenge of an HIV infected person will promote the opportunities for productive infections. Conversely, the infection with HIV of a healthy vaccinated person, will encounter a highly activatable cell population where productive infections can take place, if the vaccine is not properly designed and applied.\nIn an article of The Wall Street Journal (Cancelled Vaccine May Have Boosted HIV Risk, November 8, 2007) Sarah Rubenstein and Mark Schoofs pointed out that ?One possibility is that almost any time you immunize somebody for anything, you give them a window of increased susceptibility to HIV, says Harvard Immunologist Bruce Walker who was Head of the Scientific Committee charged with examining the data of the Merck Vaccine Trials?. This statement of Bruce Walker fits exactly the rational that was used in our paper in order to establish the ?adjuvant activation hypothesis? and the prediction that vaccines, if designed, produced and applied by traditional methods, would fail to protect and moreover, they could increase the risk of vaccinated individuals. According to this, we could also expect that the number of infected individuals in the vaccinated group will be increasing in the future, more than in the placebo control group.\n\nAll this reasoning leads us to support the NIH project to fund research that aims to elicit the production of broad neutralizing antibodies from B cells instead of targeting T cells. However in our opinion, this type of vaccine design has to include mechanisms for the selective control of T cell activation, in order to avoid the ?adjuvant effect? in infected individuals or in individuals that are at risk of infection. \n
Avatar of: Cristina Grassi

Cristina Grassi

Posts: 2

July 14, 2008

This commentary is a correction for the previous Cristina Grassi´s commentary.\n\nAs was posted by Kerry Grens at TheScientist.com (25th September 2007), Merck halted its Phase IIb-clinical trials of an HIV vaccine. By May 20th 2008 Anthony Fauci, director of NIH´s NIAID announced (TheScientist.com) a five-year $15.6 million project to fund research that aims to elicit the production of broad neutralizing antibodies from B cells instead of targeting T cells, the approach taken by previous vaccine efforts that have failed. \n\nA plausible explanation for this failure was included in a paper that was published in 2001 (H. C. Grassi, E. D. J. Andrade. HIV infections and AIDS development: the role of adjuvant activation. Medical Hypotheses (2001) 57(6), 693-696). Briefly, we proposed that HIV productive infections of CD4+ T cells occur mainly on activated cells and although the virus can infect both, resting and activated cells, productive infections occur mainly in the latter than in the former. In this paper we conclude that the technological development of vaccines should focus to a highly controlled and specific immune reaction. Similarly, immunotherapeutics could focus towards controlling immune activation. The rational takes into account the role of all the agents that promote cell activation (including vaccination) thus increasing productive infections. This effect was named as "adjuvant activation" or "adjuvant effect" and is consistent with the idea that any immune challenge of an HIV infected person will promote the opportunities for productive infections. Conversely, the infection with HIV of a healthy vaccinated person, will encounter a highly activatable cell population where productive infections can take place, if the vaccine is not properly designed and applied.\n\nIn an article of The Wall Street Journal (Cancelled Vaccine May Have Boosted HIV Risk, November 8, 2007) Sarah Rubenstein and Mark Schoofs pointed out that "One possibility is that almost any time you immunize somebody for anything, you give them a window of increased susceptibility to HIV, says Harvard Immunologist Bruce Walker who was Head of the Scientific Committee charged with examining the data of the Merck Vaccine Trials". This statement of Bruce Walker fits exactly the rational that was used in our paper in order to establish the "adjuvant activation hypothesis" and the prediction that vaccines, if designed, produced and applied by traditional methods, would fail to protect and moreover, they could increase the risk of vaccinated individuals. According to this, we could also expect that the number of infected individuals in the vaccinated group will be increasing in the future, more than in the placebo control group.\n\nAll this reasoning leads us to support the NIH project to fund research that aims to elicit the production of broad neutralizing antibodies from B cells instead of targeting T cells. However in our opinion, this type of vaccine design has to include mechanisms for the selective control of T cell activation, in order to avoid the "adjuvant effect" in infected individuals or in individuals that are at risk of infection. \n

Follow The Scientist

icon-facebook icon-linkedin icon-twitter icon-vimeo icon-youtube
Advertisement

Stay Connected with The Scientist

  • icon-facebook The Scientist Magazine
  • icon-facebook The Scientist Careers
  • icon-facebook Neuroscience Research Techniques
  • icon-facebook Genetic Research Techniques
  • icon-facebook Cell Culture Techniques
  • icon-facebook Microbiology and Immunology
  • icon-facebook Cancer Research and Technology
  • icon-facebook Stem Cell and Regenerative Science
Advertisement
Teknova
Teknova
Advertisement
PITTCON
PITTCON
Life Technologies