Discussion of all aspects of cellular structure, physiology and communication.
After 25 years and billions of research dollars the world's scientists have been unable to develop a vaccine that provides immunity against AIDS.
what makes HIV so powerful?
What mechanism did HIV use to evade detection in the immune system?
Give your view how one can generate vaccine against such nasty virushttp://www.newsinbiology.blogspot.com/
Last edited by allabout on Sun Feb 03, 2008 8:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
HIV is a single-stranded retrovirus, and thus it is extremely prone to mutation - a mutation in it's only strand of RNA instantly affects the fenotype. Furthermore (if I recall correctly), the reverse transcriptase enzyme does not have proof-reading ability, further increasing the mutation rate. Whilst many mutated viruses naturally become completely inactive, there are always those who manage to slightly alter the antigens used in vaccines and this allows them to avoid the immune system triggered by that antigen. The mutation rate also makes it quite resistant to antiviral drugs, and in order to avoid almost immediate resistance, combination treatment of at least three different drugs must be used (so if a mutant is resistant to one or two drugs, the third is still able to inactivate it). Despite this, eventually, resistant strains emerge.
HIV is by no means the only pathogen to which no vaccine exists. Many microbes use similar mechanisms to avoid immune response. In some cases, there has also been troubles in choosing an effective antigen(s) for the vaccine. HIV also infects the immune system itself, and can have a long latency periods where the virus simply hides within certain leukocytes. Thus eradicating the virus from the body once the infection has begun is very challenging (= currently impossible).
I'm quite sure there are also other issues regarding the HIV vaccine, of which I'm not aware or don't remember now. It is still good to remember that HIV isn't the only trouble child out there, it just happens to be one of the worst. Now, where was this proper malaria vaccine..? ;)
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As was stated before its the viruses ability to quickly mutate and adapted to environmental antagonist, but its the viruses stealth that contiually evades the immune system. The viruses stealth is partially due to the carbohydrate coating that it has on its surface it fools the immune system into thinking its part of a healthy body.
As for a vaccine I have thought of the introduction of gene therapy into leukocytes. Introducing a gene that does not code for the G4 proteins on the outer surface of the cell, thereby not allowing the virus to dock.
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