HIV blood sample

A new experimental HIV vaccine, when combined with a compound that stimulates a person’s immune system, demonstrated potential for a path to curing HIV.

The small study, involving rhesus monkeys who had the monkey equivalent of HIV, revealed that this novel combination was effective at suppressing the virus to undetectable levels in a few of the subjects, without the need for antiretroviral treatments.

If the combination of the HIV vaccine and immune system compound is shown to be effective in people, it could mean one step toward a cure for HIV, said lead investigator Dan Barouch, director for the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School.

These days, people with HIV can thrive thanks to antiretroviral therapy, a treatment that keeps the levels of virus low so that people can live healthy lives and decrease their risk of passing it on to others.

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