Every day 7,500 new people worldwide are infected with HIV, and right now 33 million people have the virus. In the year 2007 alone, two million died from from AIDS related disease. These grim statistics are why the news that experimental HIV vaccine has worked in preventing the risk of infection is just amazing. For the past 20 years, scientist have produced many vaccines that failed making this breakthrough huge.
Before your hopes are raised too high, know that the vaccine only decreased risk by about 31 percent, but with this little bit of success, a completely effective HIV vaccine could become reality in the not-too-distant future.
To hear more about the vaccine and how it was tested
This new HIV vaccine actually involves two different vaccines that when tested previously on their own, didn't work. Scientists gave 8,000 18 to 30 year old men and women in Thailand a combination of both vaccines. Another 8,000 were given placebo vaccines. After three years, the rate of infection was a third lower in the group that received the vaccine: 51 of the vaccinated people who were infected, while 74 people who received the placebo were. The vaccine works by introducing an antigen into the body, which triggers the immune system to produce antibodies to protect against infection.
Although the vaccine was only partially effective, this is still seen as a huge step forward in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Scientists still have many more questions. Will the protection last, or will patients need regular booster shots? And will the vaccine prevent HIV regardless of it's transmitted ? Hopefully continued research can answer these questions, and help develop a vaccine that can protect us from this deadly virus.