Homepage / Technology / A scientific breakthrough offers hope for an AIDS vaccine
Amazon says this Prime Day was its biggest shopping event ever Kudlow says President Trump is 'so dissatisfied' with China trade talks that he is keeping the pressure on As stocks regain their footing, an ominous warning looms Goldman Sachs downgrades Clorox to sell, says valuation is 'unsustainably high' How Satya Nadella has spurred a tripling of Microsoft's stock price in just over four years Kudlow says economic growth could top 4% for 'a quarter or two,' more tax cuts could be coming The one chart that explains Netflix’s stunning comeback US housing starts plunge 12% in June to a nine-month low Aerospace titans Boeing and Airbus top $110 billion in orders at Farnborough Target uses Prime Day to its advantage, logging its 'biggest online shopping day' so far this year Billionaire Marc Lasry sees bitcoin reaching up to $40,000 as it becomes more mainstream and easier to trade These are the 10 US airports where you're most likely to be hacked Amazon shares slightly higher as investors await Prime Day results Wreck of Russian warship found, believed to hold gold worth $130 billion A bullish ‘phenomenon’ in bond market is weeks away from fading, top credit strategist says Stocks making the biggest moves premarket: MS, GOOGL, TXN, UAL, NFLX & more Twitter shares up 50% since late April means most upside priced in, analyst says in downgrade EU fines Google $5 billion over Android antitrust abuse Mortgage applications fall 2.5% as buyers struggle to find affordable homes America may not have the tools to counter the next financial crisis, warn Bernanke, Geithner and Paulson Investors are getting spooked as the risk of a no-deal Brexit rises EU expected to fine Google $5 billion over Android antitrust abuse Ex-FBI chief James Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterm elections Elon Musk apologizes to British cave diver following baseless 'pedo guy' claim Disney, Comcast and Fox: All you need to know about one of the biggest media battles ever Xiaomi shares notch new high after Hong Kong, mainland China stock exchanges reach agreement The trade war is complicating China's efforts to fix its economy European markets set for a strong open amid earnings; Google in focus Hedge fund billionaire Einhorn places sixth in major poker tournament The biggest spender of political ads on Facebook? President Trump Asian stocks poised to gain after Fed's Powell gives upbeat comments; dollar firmer Stocks are setting up to break to new highs Not all FAANG stocks are created equal EU ruling may be too little, too late to stop Google's mobile dominance Cramer explains how Netflix's stock managed to taper its drop after disappointing on earnings Airbnb condemns New York City's 'bellhop politics,' threatens legal retaliation Amazon sellers say they were unfairly suspended right before Prime Day, and now have two bad choices Investor explains why 'duller' tech stocks can have better returns than 'high-flying' tech names Elon Musk is 'thin-skinned and short-tempered,' says tech VC Texas Instruments CEO Brian Crutcher resigns for violating code of conduct Google Cloud Platform fixes issues that took down Spotify, Snapchat and other popular sites Uber exec: We want to become the 'one stop' transportation app 'What a dumb hearing,' says Democrat as Congress grills tech companies on conservative bias Amazon shares rebound, report says Prime Day sales jumped 89 percent in first 12 hours of the event How to put your medical history on your iPhone in less than 5 minutes Investment chief: Watch these two big events in 2018 Even with Netflix slowing, the market rally is likely not over Cramer: Netflix subscriber weakness debunks the 'sky's the limit' theory on the stock Netflix is looking at watch time as a new area of growth, but the competition is stiff Why Nobel laureate Richard Thaler follows Warren Buffett's advice to avoid bitcoin Rolls-Royce is developing tiny 'cockroach' robots to crawl in and fix airplane engines After Netflix plunge, Wall Street analysts forecast just tame returns ahead for the once high-flying FANG group Roku shares rise after analyst raises streaming video company's price target due to customer growth China is investing 9 times more into Europe than into North America, report reveals Amazon says US Prime Day sales 'so far bigger than ever' as glitch is resolved Netflix is on pace for its worst day in two years US lumber producers see huge opportunity, rush to expand San Francisco to consider tax on companies to help homeless Homebuilder sentiment, still high, stalls as tariffs, labor and land drive up costs Powell backs more rate hikes as economy growing 'considerably stronger' Netflix history is filled with big stock declines – like today – followed by bigger rebounds Intel shares get downgraded by Evercore ISI due to rising competition from Nvidia, AMD Petco aims to reinvent the pet store with something you can't buy online Genetic testing is coming of age, but for consumers it's buyer beware Tech 'FAANG' was the most-crowded trade in the world heading into the Netflix implosion, survey shows Netflix weak subscriber growth may indicate a 'maturity wall' that could whack the stock even more: Analyst This chart may be predicting the bull market's demise Wall Street says Netflix's stock plunge is a ‘compelling’ buying opportunity because the streaming giant ‘never misses twice’ Tesla sinks after Musk tweets, again Boeing announces new division devoted to flying taxis Stocks making the biggest move premarket: NFLX, UNH, GS, AMZN, WMT & more Deutsche Bank downgrades Netflix, but says big subscriber miss is not 'thesis changing' IBM is experimenting with a cryptocurrency that’s pegged to the US dollar North Korea and Zimbabwe: A friendship explained Virgin Galactic spinoff Orbit to launch rockets from the UK with space deal Artificial intelligence will create more jobs than it destroys? That’s what PwC says ‘Treasonous’ Trump and ‘Putin’s poodle:' Scathing headlines follow the Trump-Putin summit China’s fintech companies offer ‘enormous’ opportunity, investment manager says Trump's performance at summit with Putin was 'unprecedented,' experts say Walmart and Microsoft link up on cloud technology as they both battle Amazon European stocks seen mixed amid earnings; Fed’s Powell to address Congress How I knew I should quit my day job and run my start-up full-time: Viral website founder China's stocks have been trounced, but the trade war may ultimately be good news for those shares Billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel bets on crypto start-up Block.one Asian shares subdued open after mixed close on Wall Street; energy stocks under pressure Amazon cloud hits snags after Amazon Prime Day downtime Netflix isn't doomed by one quarter unless people start questioning the long-term investor thesis Tech stocks set to sink on Tuesday after rough evening for ‘FANG’ Netflix plummets after missing big on subscriber growth This wristband lets humans control machines with their minds The U.S. has a rocky history convincing Russia to extradite computer criminals Amazon suffers glitches at the start of Prime Day Jeff Bezos is now the richest man in modern history 'The United States has been foolish': Read Trump and Putin's full exchange Goldman Sachs recommends these 5 highly profitable companies — including Nvidia — to combat rising inflation Goldman Sachs releases 'tactical' stock picks for this earnings season Three red flags for Netflix ahead of its earnings report The bond market may be raising recession fears, but don't expect one anytime soon Cramer: Banks are 'making fortunes' but are still as hated as they were during the financial crisis Putin told Trump at summit: Russia never meddled in US election


A scientific breakthrough offers hope for an AIDS vaccine

Scientists are inching toward developing a vaccine for AIDS, an immunodeficiency disease caused by the HIV virus that currently affects 36.7 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

In a paper published in the journal Science in September, scientists from the National Institutes of Health and Paris-based pharmaceutical company Sanofi described a “three-pronged” antibody, engineered in a lab, that binds to three critical sites on the HIV virus. By attacking the virus from three sides, the “trispecific” antibody creates a roadblock that even HIV — known for its constant mutating — should struggle to circumvent.

“This is very impressive and really very exciting for people who are looking for ways to prevent HIV acquisition,” said Rowena Johnston, director of research at amfAR, a foundation that raises money for the study of AIDS.

Though therapies for HIV/AIDS now allow people to more effectively manage the disease, it still claims 1 million lives around the world every year and represents about $3.5 billion in annual U.S. health-care costs. The rate of new infections in the U.S. has fallen in recent years, to 37,600 in 2014 (the most recent year for which stats are available). But in Africa — where two-thirds of all new infections occur — there were 960,000 new AIDS/HIV cases in 2016.

Further alarming health advocates is the Trump administration’s decision to slash its global HIV/AIDS spending by 24 percent, leaving nonprofits like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation scrambling to make up the shortfall. “There’s no way to balance a cut in a rich country’s generosity,” said Mr. Gates in September.

The promise of an AIDS vaccine has tempted, but eluded, scientists for decades. It’s been 37 years since Margaret Heckler, Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Ronald Reagan, infamously told reporters at the press conference announcing the discovery of AIDS that a vaccine would be ready for testing within two years. Twenty-one years after that, the New England Journal of Medicine — following the collapse of yet another promising phase-3 study — referred to the flagging search for an AIDS vaccine as “a Sisyphean onslaught of disappointments.”

HIV is spread through the sharing of specific bodily fluids — blood, semen, breast milk and vaginal or rectal fluids — which typically occur during intercourse or the sharing of intravenous needles. Once inside the body, HIV attacks a certain kind of immune-system cell known as CD4. By destroying these cells, the virus makes it harder for your body to fight off disease, increasing the risk of major illness from even minor infections.

But in recent years, scientists have discovered a kind of antibody in people living longer with the virus, which has reinvigorated the pursuit. Known as broadly neutralizing antibodies, these Y-shaped proteins — which occur in about 20 percent of infected people living with HIV for two or more years — helps defend against multiple strains of HIV and are thought to play a role in helping people fend off the infection. Multiple studies have since tested ways in which broadly neutralizing antibodies could help stave off HIV infection or slow its growth in those already infected.

More from Modern Medicine:
Growing old with HIV after decades of drug success
A party drug could become next blockbuster antidepression treatment
New cure under way for the 80 million people in US dealing with hair loss

Of course, the antibodies have their limitations. “Each individual antibody only binds to one very specific component of the HIV envelope, or the outer covering,” said Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who helped oversee the new study. But HIV is constantly mutating, so no single antibody can hold off the virus for long. Eventually, the virus will happen upon a mutation that allows it to get around the protection provided by the single antibody.

What the NIH and Sanofi scientists did was combine three broadly neutralizing antibodies into a single compound. Johnston, who was not involved in the research, compared the approach with antiretroviral therapy, which has become the standard in HIV treatment by slowing the virus’ growth through a strategic combination of drugs. “If you’re only taking one type of drug, then your HIV would escape from that,” she said. “It’s possible two would work, but three really seals the deal.”

The redundancy of three different antibodies makes escape-by-mutation practically impossible. “HIV would have to come up with such an elaborate set of mutations to escape from all three of these antibodies simultaneously that it’s almost certainly not going to happen,” she said.

Combining three antibodies into a single compound — a remarkable feat of engineering, noted Johnston — not only provides greater protection against the virus but is optimized to move swiftly through the arduous FDA-approval process.

“It’s very complicated to get approval to do a trial in which you’re trying to combine more than one thing,” said Johnston. “If you’re trying to do drug A and drug B, the FDA would prefer you start out looking at just drug A and just drug B before they give you permission to put A and B together.”

The trispecific antibody circumvents that process — an ancillary benefit that Fauci referred to as a “bonus.” “We weren’t thinking about the FDA when we did this,” he said.

If it proves safe and effective in humans, the drug could be used both as a vaccine and a treatment for people already living with the disease. A phase 1 trial is now slated to begin in late 2018. If all goes well, it could potentially be on the market within the next three years.

Still, Fauci was careful not to overstate the significance of the current findings.

“This is a solid incremental increase in our capability of dealing with and preventing HIV infection,” he said. “It’s significant, but it isn’t completely transforming.”

That could change, of course. But only time will tell. “It ain’t a breakthrough till it works,” Fauci said.

By Douglas Quenqua, special to CNBC.com

Source: Tech CNBC
A scientific breakthrough offers hope for an AIDS vaccine

Comments are closed.