Why there is still no vaccine for HIV/AIDS?

With the help of great scientists and their contribution, we humans have been quite successful in eradicating diseases like smallpox, polio from the world with powerful vaccination campaigns. Even in the worst-hit scenario of the COVID 19 pandemic, the rapid development of the vaccine against the Coronavirus is saving the lives of millions of people.

But one of the diseases known as AIDS caused by HIV still has no vaccine for it. Its been more than 37 years since this disease was discovered, and it was proved that AIDS is caused by HIV.


Development of HIV Vaccines and Shortcomings:

Vaccines are undoubtedly a weapon that is saving millions of lives every day. AIDS was first discovered in the early 1980s, but the virus causing AIDS was found almost 2 – 3 years later between 1982 to 1983.

It was natural to think the researchers will be able to develop a vaccine against this disease as well. But it’s now been 37 years since the discovery of HIV, and researchers are still struggling to create a vaccine against AIDS.

The exact problem behind not having a vaccine against AIDS is neither the government nor the researchers, but the problem lies within HIV.

More than 100 million USD are being spent recently on phase 3 trials of the vaccines against AIDS. The first three trials have abruptly failed, yet problems are being conducted to check whether they can stop the infection or reduce the viral load on those infected.

Why is HIV so Complex?

HIV can mutate fast and tolerate any unfavorable situation. HIV has a very complex system. Few vaccines have proved to be a bit effective against replicating the virus, but no vaccines can protect against the acquisition of this virus.

There are various strains of this virus. These strains not only differ from person to person but different within an individual. HIV can hide from the anti-bodies as well.

Although other viruses like Herpes or Coronaviruses are enveloped, HIV has it at an extreme level. It has its envelope made of glycoprotein, which gives it the strength to escape any unfavorable condition.

Hence, these properties of the viruses play a significant role in limiting the efficacy of the vaccine made against them.

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Sam Hardy

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