AIDS Vaccine still in research
Written by: Daniel Tuyizere
Wednesday, September 20th, 2017, 17:57
People are advised to continue combating HIV/AIDS as much as possible because HIV vaccine is still in researches, the virus is extraordinarily genetically diverse. This was revealed during the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative meeting in Kigali that attracted researchers from different countries across the globe.
Rwanda’s minister of health, Dr Diane Gashumba has said that the HIV vaccine would be a better only solution rather than delivering antiretroviral treatment.
A safe and effective AIDS vaccine would help prevent thousands of new infections and offer lasting protection to millions of people worldwide. Though more than 19 million people now receive antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV infection, 1.8 million are newly infected each year and more than half of that number dies annually from AIDS-related causes.
Antiretroviral treatment, which has dramatically altered the course of the epidemic, now keeps 18 million people alive while living with HIV. Fewer than half of the new infections each year have access to treatment, therefore the development of a vaccine has the potential to end AIDS.
According to the Dr Etienne Karita, the Country Director of San Fransisco, the HIV vaccine researches in Rwanda started in 2005, where the single vaccine was tried on adults between 20 and 50 by proving whether the vaccine cannot have different effects on people and to see whether it can make antibodies that may defeat the HIV. The future vaccine trial will be for the high-risk individuals like women sex workers.
Because HIV is genetically diverse, it can mutate rapidly over time with different strains prevalent in different regions. Even if a newly developed vaccine is effective in one country, it may not work elsewhere or stay effective for long.
Professor Anatoli Kamali, the Regional Director-Africa Programme in International AIDS vaccine Initiative said that in this long journey, the researchers have been doing on HIV epidemiology showing how many people are positive, how are attacked, who are mostly affected in order to help them take other preventive measures to reduce the HIV newly acquired infections.
Widespread access to current HIV prevention technologies is limited among groups most vulnerable to HIV infection such as women and adolescent girls. Scientists are working to develop a vaccine to face several major challenges, including the variability and mutability of the virus.
This meeting was held in Rwanda due to the political will of the government of Rwanda in improving health programmes and support to research, Rwanda was the first country in the world to implement cervical cancer vaccine where 92% of young women over 12 years are vaccinated.