Saturday, January 30, 2010

Russians Announce AIDS Vaccine and Preparation for First Clinical Trials

Russian medics from St. Petersburg developed a vaccine, which fights HIV-1 subtype A virus, the most common cause for AIDS in Russia and countries of the former Soviet Union, and reported about it during the 18 International Conference “AIDS, cancer and public health”.

Researchers from Biomedical Centre and Science and Research Institute of Extremely Pure Biological Agents developed a technique for plasmid DNA purification, which allowed producing highly purified substances, and first lots of vaccine are already synthesized. Preclinical trials were performed according regulations, approved by Russian Ministry of Health and Social Development, as well as the pharmaceutical committee. Researchers measured physiological and biochemical parameters and performed exercise ECG testing. Tests of acute and chronic toxicity were performed on rats and dogs, while allergenic capacity was tested on guinea pigs. Experiments on acute toxicity showed that the DNA-vaccine, injected as a solution intramuscularly, had almost zero toxicity on animals. All experiments allowed concluding that new vaccine was ready for the first stage of clinical trials.

Scientists also discussed an interesting phenomenon, called “bottleneck effect”, which usually takes place during infection transmission in drug addicted people. Curiously, vast majority of HIV-infection cases is caused by transmission of only one viral genome. This fact has a great significance for modern medicine in terms of creating of effecting vaccine, but, anyway, it is a bit early to talk about defeating human immunodeficiency virus, since scientists need several more years to finish research and necessary trials.

Conference participants also reported about unique results of how evolutionary new genes were expressed in tumours. These data allow new interpretation of fundamental properties of cancer tumours, as well as developing new approaches to diagnostics, prevention and treatment of oncologic diseases. Medics of the world already developed about 10 candidate DNA-vaccines for fighting various forms of tumours, currently undergoing various stages of clinical trials. All mentioned vaccines are confirmed to be safe and have low toxicity. Parameters of immune response, formed by DNA-immunogens give us a hope that these vaccines have good perspectives as tumour preventive agents.

During the mentioned conference new laureates of “Kalinka” prize were announced. The “Kalinka” prize is an international award, established by the Biomedical Centre together with St. Petersburg State University, Science and Research Institute of Extremely Pure Biological Agents and All-Russian public organization “HIV/AIDS and public health”. This year the prize went to academician Vitaly Zverev, the director of Mechnikov Science and Research Institute of Vaccines and Serums, and Professor Raymond Schinazi from Emori Institute, the United States, “for development of effective antiviral agents, which also affect HIV”.

Source: Science and Life


Biomedical Center, St. Petersburg, Russia
State Research Institute for Highly Pure Biopreparations (SRIHPB), St. Petersburg, Russia
BioIndusty Initiative
Mechnikov Research Institute of Vaccines and Sera


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