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HIV Vaccine Research

Taylor Kjorsvik

Mar 7, 2024

Over 1 million people a year suffer from HIV and it kills hundreds of thousands annually. There have been 20 failed vaccine trials over the last 20 years, 4 in just this decade alone. Luckily, researchers say “recent scientific advances have likely, hopefully, put them on the right track to develop a highly effective vaccine against the insidious virus” (CNN), however, they don't predict the vaccine until the 2030s. The director of the vaccine and infectious disease division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Clinic in Seattle, Dr. Julie McElrath says “An effective vaccine is really the only way to provide long-term immunity against HIV, and that’s what we need,” (CNN). Researchers at the recent Retrovirus Conference in Denver presented two favorable studies for HIV vaccines. The HIV virus mutates rapidly and is very complex. Experts believe that warding off the threat of mutations will require targeting multiple sites of the virus, “researchers are seeking to develop a portfolio of immune system prompts that would spur production of an array of broadly neutralizing antibodies” (CNN). The development of these antibodies requires a very complicated process of coaxing the infection fighting B-cells, this will get them to multiply and guide their maturation into potent broadly neutralizing antibody producing factors. Nearly $17 billion has been spent all over the world on HIV vaccine research from 2000-2021, according to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS and the nonprofit HIV group, AVAC, about $1 billion more is spent annually on research. 

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