Zee Media Bureau
Canberra: In a significant progress toward vaccinating people against HIV infection, Australian scientists have come up with a right approach to creating a vaccine for the deadly virus.
A team of researchers from South Australia's University of Adelaide and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital have used a common cold virus to introduce their DNA-based vaccine into the immune system of laboratory mice, Xinhua news agency reported.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infects cells of the immune system, destroying or impairing their function.
Researchers said they were able to create this common cold virus that encoded proteins of HIV after a long four years of study. They vaccinated mice and found that they were successful in creating immunity in mucosal surfaces.
Branka Grubor-Bauk from the University of Adelaide said the team targeted the vaccine into areas in which the HIV infection is most commonly found, and discovered that the testing achieved a "significant reduction" of infection rates in the mice.
"You need to get protection where your body encounters the virus first and you need to stop that virus from either entering, or you need to stop it from replicating and stop it from spreading," Grubor-Bauk said on Monday.
"We're hoping our discovery is definitely pointing us in the right direction."
She said now the team had made the important breakthrough, and it was vital that research continues into a human vaccine for the HIV infection.
"We also have a DNA vaccine we administered intradermally, like the influenza vaccine, and we found by administering this vaccine we were able to get a systemic immunity throughout the whole body."
According to estimates by WHO and UNAIDS, there were 36.7 million people living with HIV globally at the end of 2015. And that same year, some 2.1 million people became newly infected, and 1.1 million died of HIV-related causes.
The results of the testing were published in the Scientific Reports journal.
(With IANS inputs)