• Question: Why is it taking years for world scientists to get a cure for the AIDS disease?

    Asked by Victor to Dorcas, Jay Oty, Mel, Chapa, Priscilla on 1 Oct 2014.
    • Photo: Dorcas Kamuya

      Dorcas Kamuya answered on 1 Oct 2014:

      Hi victor,
      One of the annoying habits of the HIV virus is that is mutates all the time once it gets into the body and inside the cells. That means that any vaccine will be effective if they address this characteristic of the HIV virus. The first generation of vaccine, initiated as soon as HIV was discovered in the early 1980’s aimed to elicit an antibody response in the body that will prevent the virus from getting inside the cell nucleus. Vaccine development undergoes many stages which can take many years, as researchers have to be sure that is safe, and effective in preventing the disease. After sometime, it was realised that the vaccine was not as effective. At the same time, a second generation vaccine, one that was looking at how it can stimulate cellular response was being developed . After several trials, it was also found not to be affective. So now researchers are looking at other alternatives,including a vaccine that will combine both antibody response and cellular immune response. Developing vaccine is very expensive and long process, and that is why many international and national donors and funders support the development of HIV vaccine.

      Did you also know that it took 109 years to discover and develop typhoid vaccine, 89years for whooping cough vaccine, 47 years for polio vaccines? So it can really take long, but also relatively shorter times like 16 for hepatitis B vaccine. It’s important to take care and protect ourselves as there is no cure for HIV. We protect and prevent ourselves from being infected through chilling, being faithful and of course using condoms consistently and correctly.