Duke Doctors Discover Pathway To Possible HIV Vaccine

Apr 8, 2013

Electron microscope image of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Credit Duke University

Duke University researchers are several steps closer to developing a vaccine to help the body fight HIV. 

A team of doctors was able to find and track down rare  individuals whose immune systems can produce enough antibodies to combat the virus that causes AIDS. 

Lead researcher Barton Haynes is Director of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute.  He says new technology that can track the immune response in individuals showed them the path to what could be an effective medication.

"So now that we've found the road map, we take the critical pieces of the envelope that have changed over time and make them synthetically in the test tube," Haynes explained.

"Then that becomes our sequential series of immunizations for our experimental vaccine that we're testing now in non-human primates and then eventually into humans."

Haynes says he's among the doctors who have been working on this project for 28 years and a viable vaccine is still several years away.  The first HIV cases were diagnosed 30 years ago.