Preventing AIDS But Not HIV-1 Infection with a DNA Vaccine

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Science  20 Oct 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5491, pp. 463-465
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5491.463

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Although there has been some success in treating human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients with triple drug therapy (highly active antiretroviral therapy or HAART), the best hope for combating AIDS (the disease caused by HIV) could be a combination of drug therapy and vaccination, according to Shen and Siliciano in their Perspective. A new study in rhesus monkeys treated with a DNA vaccine ( Barouch et al.) demonstrates that a powerful vaccine-induced CD8cytolytic T cell response reduces the amount of virus in the blood to very low levels preventing the drastic decrease in CD4T helper cells and subsequent immunodeficiency. As the Perspective authors explain, vaccinating HIV patients that are receiving HAART may enable HIV levels to be permanently brought under control such that the drug treatment can eventually be stopped.