Some patients' immune systems respond to experimental vaccine therapy
Patients with HIV who get vaccinated with a disabled version of the virus can, in many cases, fight the real one to a draw. A new study shows that injecting heat-inactivated HIV can awaken immune protection in some patients, limiting their need for drugs for weeks or months. While the effects appear temporary, the approach might eventually lead to a way to control HIV over the long-term.
The immune system is understaffed in the fight against HIV, largely because the virus targets the very immune T cells that coordinate defense against the virus. Efforts to alert these and other immune forces to the presence of HIV in already infected patients through vaccination have produced mixed results.