Belgian researchers develop new vaccine to combat HIV

Scientists at the Institute for Tropical Medicine, the University of Antwerp and Antwerp University Hospital have successfully developed a new vaccine to combat the HIV virus.The vaccine was tested on volunteers.

The therapeutic vaccine contains the volunteers’ own white blood cells.These white blood cells are extracted from the body and then ‘trained’ to recognise and fight the HIV virus,after which they are gradually reintroduced into the body.

Research shows that so-called killer T cells (CD8 cells) receive insufficient support from dendritic cells.Dendritic cells are supposed to inform the CD8 cells of how best to counteract the virus.In the Flemish study, these dendritic cells were extracted from the body of seropositive volunteers in order to teach them how to deal with the HIV virus.

This is not the first time that Belgian researchers have announced a medical first.Philip Jorens, Chairman of the Centre for Medical Innovation, states that ¨Nowhere else in the world is so much ´phase-1 research´ into new medicines being carried out.¨ Belgian medical researchers currently rate among the best in the world.

The new vaccine does not, however, cure AIDS.The problem up until now has been that no single medication has demonstrated a lasting effect.When treatment is halted, the virus returns in force.

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HIV virus