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Brazilian AIDS vaccine moves to primate tests

Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   Aug. 6, 2013 at 11:57 AM
Researchers from the University of Sao Paulo will begin primate tests for their HIV vaccine later this year.

Known as HIVBr18, it is a vaccine against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Scientists say that at this stage, however, the vaccine cannot totally eliminate the virus from an organism.

Instead, the vaccine can keep the viral load low enough to prevent HIV from progressing into AIDS. The patient won't develop an immunodeficiency, and won't be able to transmit the virus to others.

Edecio Cunha Neto, Jorge Kalil and Simone Fonseca have been working on the vaccine since 2001. The Sao Paulo state Research Foundation (FAPESP) said on Monday that primate trials of the vaccine will last two years.

"Our goal is to test various immunization methods to select the one capable of inducing a stronger immunological response and thus be able to test it on humans," Neto said.

Researchers will test on a colony of rhesus monkeys provided by Sao Paulo state's Butantan biomedical research institute. The monkeys, which have a similar immune system to humans, are themselves susceptible to SIV, Simian immunology Virus, which is believed to have led to HIV.

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