HIV/AIDS Treatment Breakthrough

An Israeli research team has developed a vaccine that could make a dramatic impact on the treatment of AIDS patients.

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, | updated: 19:05

While AIDS treatments using the conventional cocktail of medications can kill the virus, the affected immune system continues to kill healthy cells. Therefore, researchers from the Hadassah University Medical Center and the Weizmann Institute of Science decided to focus on developing a vaccine that would arrest this auto-immune destructive process. What they came up with significantly strengthens the body's immune system against the effects of HIV infection.

The results of the Israeli study were published in the latest issue of the prestigious Journal of Clinical Virology.

The research team was headed by Dr. Rivka Abulafia-Lapid and assisted by Yael Keren-Zur, at the Human Biology Research Center directed by Prof. Henri Atlan, associated with Hadassah's Department of Biophysics and Nuclear Medicine, Ein Karem, Jerusalem. This study was done in collaboration with Prof. Zvi Bentwich and Prof. Irun Cohen of the Weizmann Institute.

"Our aim was not to prevent infection by the virus but to strengthen the immune system and use our vaccination treatment as a complement to the antiviral medication," said Dr. Rivka Abulafia-Lapid. "Since the auto-immune process continues even after elimination of the virus, the vaccine that we have developed is directed to stop this destructive process. In other words, our vaccine complements the cocktail of medications, to stop the body from continuing to destroy itself."