n Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine - Collaboration between Italian and South African scientists on a tat-based HIV vaccine : vaccines




The urgent need to find an effective HIV vaccine, and the challenges this presents, have forced scientists to investigate various innovative approaches. Most of the attempts made in the last 15 years have focused on the structural proteins of HIV aiming at inducing immunity by blocking virus entry. However, the failure of this approach so far has led some scientists to investigate strategies aimed at controlling viral replication and blocking disease onset Recent approaches aimed at eliciting immunity against the HIV regulatory gene products tat, rev and nef have shown good results. Tat vaccination appears capable of controlling primary infection with highly pathogenic SHIV (simian HIV) viruses providing evidence of cross-protection in non-human primates. The tat gene is relatively well conserved in its immunogenic regions among most subtypes of HIV-1 and therefore may lead to the development of a vaccine that could be used globally.


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