HIV is still plaguing humanity with 35 million infected people worldwide. Antiretroviral drugs do slow down the progression of the disease but at a high cost and with long term toxicity. More than ever, the need for a vaccine is stringent.
At the heart of a current European research project, the idea is to block the entry of HIV into cells, both at mucosal sites and in blood. Why target mucosal sites? Because 90% of HIV infections happen via the sexual route. Obtaining an immune response at this gateway could therefore mean efficiently blocking the virus and prevent it from ever entering the body.
A first clinical trial on humans has just finished to check for toxicity. In a next step, researcher will then determine whether the blood and mucosal tissue of the volunteers will produce the neutralizing antibodies, once confronted to HIV in the lab.
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