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Scientists at the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute with The Oregon Health and Science University have claimed that 9 out of 16 monkeys they they vaccinated against Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) cleared the virus from their bodies.

macaque monkeysThe SIVmac239 virus, found in rhesus macaque monkeys, is around 100 times more potent than HIV found in humans and can kill it’s subjects within two years of infection.

Scientists at the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute with The Oregon Health and Science University have claimed that 9 out of 16 monkeys they they vaccinated against Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) cleared the virus from their bodies.

The novel approach used involved modifying the cytomegalovirus, part of the herpes family, to activate the monkeys’ immune systems to fight off the SIV.

It’s unclear why the vaccine only worked in nine out of the sixteen monkeys, Professor Louis Picker said “It could be the fact that SIV is so pathogenic that this is the best you are ever going to get. There is a battle going on, and half the time the vaccine wins and half the time it doesn’t.”

The race is now on to see whether the same approach can be applied to humans and the HIV virus, but that may take many more years.

Source: International Weekly Journal of Science http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature12519.html

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