Sooner or later, every virus finds its antidote. There is, but, one instance where that statement stands incorrect. You guessed it! It’s HIV, the deadliest virus ever known to mankind, which has claimed the lives of 35 million people so far. Every 2 second, a person dies somewhere in the world due to AIDS-related illness. 35 years since the first outbreak and we are still struggling to find a cure. So the question that mankind is still pondering over, is, “will there be an AIDS vaccine in the future?”
Experiments, clinical trials, and researches – scientists around the world have been working on every method possibly available that would aid them in development of the vaccine. Needless to say, there are numerous vaccines right now that are undergoing clinical and preclinical development.
But, are they succeeding?
Success is often observed during the early stages with many AIDS vaccines, but the effects fade away soon and the vaccine is declared inconsistent. As a result, none of them has yet been able to suffice to the definition of a vaccine,
“A substance used to stimulate the production of antibodies and provide immunity against one or several diseases, prepared from the causative agent of a disease, its products, or a synthetic substitute, treated to act as an antigen without inducing the disease.”
What’s making this virus unbreakable?
When our body learns about an intruder virus, it tries to attack it via the immune system. In case of HIV, it has a protean ability that allows it to mutate every time the immune system attacks it recognizing as a threat. Since the virus rapidly mutates, our body no longer sees it as a danger and leaves it alone. In a quite similar fashion, the virus deceives the AIDS vaccines as well.
No perfect vaccine, but MANAGEMENT OPTIONS HAVE IMPROVED
Although there is no treatment yet, much improvement has been made in terms of management and control of the infection. Use of several classes of antiretroviral drugs (HAART) that are made to act on different life-cycle stages of HIV, helps maintain the function of immune system. In many of the cases, the progression of AIDS is slowed to a considerably low pace with the help of this therapy.
Alternative medicine that although face opposition from the FDA and other drug regulators around the world, are currently being used by a large population of infected people. Despite their prominence, these alternative treatments have not been backed by any recognized institution yet.
Is there an AIDS-free future?
More than 35 years since the epidemic dawned on mankind and still we are yet to see anything viable in terms of AIDS vaccine. Even with all the technology and tools of 21st century, we are barely near any plausible cure. Does that mean there is no AIDS-free future?
Plague, one of the first of the virus kind that has been known to humans since historical eras and has been responsible for wiping out a significant portion of world population, was also considered untreatable once. But today, we have a cure.
Yes, there has been no success yet, but our brilliant minds are still in work. We are learning from failures and moving forward with every single experiment or clinical trial. Someday, like every time, we would land upon a cure that would bring the most-awaited end to this deadly virus.
December 1st is International Aids Day! The day gives mankind hope that the world has not given up. The battle against AIDS will end someday and we will celebrate that day as “AIDS-free day”.