The Good news: Researchers say they are working on a T cell-based HIV vaccine that is able to activate an immune response in T cells from individuals against the feline acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) virus.
However, Prof. Yamamoto says that not all HIV peptides are able to work as vaccine components. Some enhance HIV infection or have no effect, while others have anti-HIV activities that become lost if the virus changes or mutates to avoid immunity.
Researchers believe cats may be the key to an HIV vaccine, after peptides in the feline immunodeficiency virus were found to trigger T cells to kill HIV.
Previous studies have shown that when combining various whole HIV proteins to create vaccine components, the results have not been strong enough to create a commercial vaccine.
But the researchers believe that the feline AIDS virus could be used to discover areas of the human AIDS virus, and this could lead to a new vaccine-development strategy for HIV.
“We had difficulty in identifying ways to select regions on HIV-1 for HIV-1 vaccine. Our work shows how to select the viral regions for HIV-1 vaccine. The regions on FIV or their counterpart on HIV-1 that have anti-HIV T cell activities can be used as a component for human HIV-1 vaccine,” says Prof. Yamamoto.