A team of Spanish scientists claim they have developed a therapeutic vaccine that can temporarily stop the growth of the HIV virus in infected patients.
“It is the most solid demonstration in the scientific literature that a therapeutic vaccine is possible,” the team said in a statement.
According to their study, published Wednesday in Science Translation Medicine, the results of the vaccine were the best yet recorded for such a treatment.
Tested on 36 patients infected with the virus, the vaccine treats an existing disease rather than preventing it and is based on immune cells exposed to HIV that have been inactivated with heat. The study says the therapeutic vaccine was safe and led to a dramatic drop in the amount of HIV virus detected in some patients.
“What we did was give instructions to the immune system so it could learn to destroy the virus, which it does not do naturally,” said Felipe Garcia, one of the scientists in the team at Barcelona University’s Hospital Clinic.