Adding a therapeutic vaccine into the mix

Adding a therapeutic vaccine into the mixA new therapeutic AIDS vaccine trial designed to slow progression to full-blown AIDS is underway.

A new therapeutic AIDS vaccine trial designed to slow progression to full-blown AIDS is underway.

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The audio is in isiZulu.  See the English summary below.  

 

MABUTHO: Amakhambi amaningi egciwane le HIV ahlolwa kuleli kanye nakwamanye amazwe agxile kakhulu ekuvikeleni ukuthola igciwane kunokulidambisa kulabo asebenalo. Cishe kungalesisizathi esiholele ukuthi inkampani yase Finland, iFIT Biotech Plc iqhamuke nekhambi GTU-MultiHIV B clade vaccine elihlolelwa ukuthi lingekwazi yini ukudambisa igciwane le HIV ukuba lingabhebhetheki ngamandla kulabo asebenalo. Lelikhambi selike lahlolwa kwisigaba sokuqala (Phase I) ezweni laseFinland lakhombisa ukuba yikhambi eliphephile ukuthi lingaqhubeka lihlolwe ezigatsheni ezilandelayo. Njengamanje selihlolwa esigabeni sesibili esibizwa ngo Phase II A.Lokhu kusho ukuthi kuhlolwa ukuphepha kwalo kubantu kanye nendlela okumele lisetshenziswe ngayo. UDr Efthyhia  Vardas ongumqondisi wophiko we Peri-natal HIV Research Unit (PHRU) esibhedlela iChris Hani Baragwanath, eSoweto, uthi ukuhlolwa kwalelikhambi kufike esikhathini esihle njengoba kunenqwaba yabantu abaphila negciwane okudingeka ukuthi bathole ikhambi elingase libasize ukwehlisa izinga legciwane emzimbeni. UDr Vardas uthi lelikhambi uma liphumelela lingasiza ukuthi abantu bangaze balinde ukuthi iCD4 count yabo ize ibe ngaphansi kuka 200 ngaphambi kokuthola ama ARVs njengokwenqubomgombo yomnyango wezempilo kuleli.

 

DR EFTHYHIA VARDAS: We know that in South Africa people can access antiretrovirals once their CD4 counts are below 200 and I think that is very late. So, this vaccine could possibly offer help for those individuals before their CD4 count actually gets too low.

 

MABUTHO: Uthi okuyinhlosongqangi yalelikhambi abalihlolayo ukuthi livimbele igciwane le HIV ekuthenini lenze lowo ophila nalo adlulele esigabeni sokuba ne AIDS. Uthi lingakwenza lokhu ngokugcina iviral load okanye amandla egciwane emzimbeni ephansi kodwa futhi liphinde libe liqhubeka nokunika amandla iCD4 count okanye amasosha omzimba, ukwehla kwawo okudala lowo ophila ngegciwane le HIV ukuba angenwe izifo kalula.

 

DR EFTHYHIA VARDAS: The idea is to stop the progression of HIV to AIDS, and the mechanism of how it does that is that it maintains your viral load very low. But it also maintains the CD4 count of your protective cells very high.

 

MABUTHO: Bangu 60 abantu abangama volontiya okucwaningwa kwalelikhambi. Kulababantu, abangu 40 babo banikezwa ikhambi okuyilona lona kuthi abangu 20 banikezwe ikhambi okungelona elangempela (placebo). Lokhu kwenzelwa ukuthola umehluko phakathi kwalabo abanikwa ikhambi okuyilonalona kanye nalabo abathola iplacebo. UDr Vardas uthi imiphumela yesikhashana yokucwaningwa kwalelikhambi kubantu abathole okuyilonalona ibukeka yethembisa kunalabo abanikwe iplacebo ngoba ibonisa ukuthi liyakwazi ukugcina iviral load okanye amandla egciwane ephansi.

 

DR EFTHYHIA VARDAS: The preliminary conclusion shows that the viral load is controlled in the people who receive the vaccine, compared to the people who receive placebo. So, that is the first good indication that the viral load is held at quite low levels compared to the people who received placebo.

 

MABUTHO: UDr Vardas uthi okunye abakubonile ukuthi akukho ukuphazamiseka kwe CD4 count okanye amasosha omzimba alabobantu elihlolwe, okushokhona ukuthi iqhubekile nokuba sezingeni elifanayo. Uthi kodwa abangakakwazi nabafuna ukuthi bakwazi ukuthi ngabe lokhu kungaphazamiseki kwe CD4 count okanye amasosha omzimba kuyinto yesikhashana noma kuyinto eqhubekayo.

 

DR EFTHYIA VARDAS: The second thing that we observed is that the CD4 count remains stable or less ‘€“ which means that people are able to maintain the CD4 count. What we don’€™t know, at this point, is whether or not this is a long-lasting effect.

 

MABUTHO: Uthi ngenxa yokuthi luthanda ukuthi lungacacisi kahle ukuthi iCD4 count ima ezingeni elifanayo okwesikhashana noma kuba into eqhubekayo bangathanda ukuthi bathi ukunezezela umthamo walo lelikhambi kulabo elihlolwa kubona ukuqhubezela ucwaningo lwabo lwezesayensi kulelikhambi.

 

DR EFTHYIA VARDAS: We would like to amend the protocol to include boosting doses and to follow up the effect to see if it is more long term or if it’€™s just immediately after the vaccine (is given) that the viral load and the CD4 count are controlled.

 

MABUTHO: UProf. Gavin Churchyard osebenzela isikhungo esicwaninga ngezempilo iAurum Institute for Health Research esifundazweni sase North West uthi kubalulekile ukuthi kutholakale ikhambi elikwazi ukulawula igciwane le HIV kulabo asebenalo. Uthi ukutholakala kwekhambi elilawula igciwane kulabo asebenalo kuyosho ukuthi bazophila isikhathi eside ngaphambi kokuba bangenwe izifo ezidalwa ukwehla kwamasosha omzimba ngenxa yokudlavazwa igciwane le HIV.

 

English summary

 

Adding a therapeutic vaccine into the mix

 

A new therapeutic AIDS vaccine trial designed to slow progression to full-blown AIDS is underway.

 

The vaccine, called the GTU-Multi HIV B clade vaccine was developed by a Finnish-based land based company, FIT Biotech. The initial Phase 1 studies to determine whether it is safe for human trials were also conducted in Finland. It is currently being tested in a Phase IIA trial in South Africa to assess its safety and dosing requirements. Unlike most AIDS vaccine trials, it is tested on people who are already infected with HIV with the hope that it will slow their progression to full-blown AIDS.

 

According to Dr Efthyhia Vardas, the Director of the HIV/AIDS Vaccine Division at the Peri-natal HIV Research Unit at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, in Soweto, if the vaccine proves successful, it will help those living with HIV stay healthy for longer before they can go on antiretrovirals.

 

‘€œWe know that in South Africa people can access antiretrovirals once their CD4 counts are below 200, and I think that is very late. So, this vaccine could possibly offer help for those individuals before their CD4 counts actually get too low,’€ said Dr Vardas.

 

She says the vaccine is intended ‘€œto stop the progression of HIV to AIDS, and the mechanism of how it does that is that it maintains your viral load very low. But it also maintains the CD4 count of your protective cells very high’€.

 

At least 60 people were recruited for the vaccine trials. Among those, 40 of them were given the real vaccine while the remaining 20 were given a placebo. Dr Vardas says the preliminary results are encouraging.

 

‘€The viral load is controlled in the people who receive the vaccine, compared to the people who receive the placebo. So, that is the first good indication – that the viral load is held at quite low levels compared to the people who received the placebo,’€ she said.

 

‘€œThe second thing that we observed is that the CD4 count remains stable, more or less ‘€“ which means that people are able to maintain the CD4 count. What we don’€™t know, at this point, is whether or not this is a long-lasting effect,’€ she said, adding, that they ‘€œwould like to amend the protocol to include boosting doses and to follow up the effect to see if it is more long term or if it’€™s just immediately after the vaccine (is given) that the viral load and the CD4 count are controlled’€œ.

 

Prof. Gavin Churchyard of the Aurum Institute for Health Research, an independent scientific organization for treatment of, and research into, epidemics and other diseases in developing countries, says it’€™s important to develop a therapeutic vaccine.

 

‘€œIf you can control the degree of how much virus is circulating in the body, it may have a profound effect in slowing down the epidemic and the individuals who do become infected make slow progression to disease,’€ said Prof. Churchyard.