Have you heard of mRNA technology? You may have not come across it unless you’re well-versed in scientific research. Scientific research done on animals has shown that mRNA vaccines are effective and safe, with the potential to prevent HIV infection in humans.
One of the biggest challenges faced by the medical community is that the HIV virus mutates extremely rapidly. This means it can evade the immune system. So how do you beat a super villain like HIV? mRNA technology can help make this happen.
When it comes to infectious diseases, HIV is right up there with the worst of them. It is spread through sex, but also through blood and mothers to their children during pregnancy or breastfeeding. There are only a few vaccines against HIV that have been developed so far and they have several limitations such as needing to be either injected or part of a complicated regimen.
However, in the last few years new technology has emerged that could change all this. There is now evidence that mRNAs can stimulate previously immune deficient human dendritic cells (DCs), leading to an immune response strong enough to protect against HIV infection.
HIV is one nasty virus that just won’t leave us alone. So far, there is no cure for HIV/AIDS and what we use at the moment are antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to manage it. They drastically reduce the viral load in our body but they can’t get rid of it completely. Now, thanks to new research done at The Wistar Institute, there might be an alternative vaccine which uses mRNA technology and could potentially eliminate HIV from your body.
Perhaps most exciting is the fact that mRNA vaccines already exist, and are even in clinical trials. Although human testing is still in its early stages, it seems very likely that these vaccines will be clinically available within a few years. If they are successful and approved by health organizations, they will certainly revolutionize the way we deal with HIV.