NEWS

Research on the vaccine

Are you optimistic about the vaccine? I believe that the molecular biological mix of the virus will definitely create problems with the vaccine. When the time comes, it must be taken into consideration that the number of non-B subtypes in Greece will have increased even more, accounting for 30-40 percent of infections. Consequently there must either be a multiactive vaccine that can deal with all the problems (which seems unlikely) or an effective vaccine for the A, B and C subtypes, which are very common in Greece. How is the research progressing? The results of the first generations of vaccines, which were tested in the US and Thailand, have already been announced and they are fairly disappointing. We expected that; we weren’t too upset. But recently there have been at least five publications referring to the reinfection of people who had been HIV-positive. These were people who had received treatment but who were reinfected because they thought that they were safe. Until then we had believed that the mechanisms of cellular immunity found in the memory of the organism were sufficient to prevent reinfection. These cases have made us very concerned that – in order to be effective – the vaccines will have to activate other mechanisms apart from the cellular immunity mechanism as we have known it till now. Twenty major studies on the vaccine are under way. The fear is that our strategy for designing the vaccine was wrong.