HIV Cure: New Drug 'Vacc-4x' May Become First Functional Cure Against the Virus

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By Ryan Inoyori | February 14, 2014 7:05 PM EST

The new Bionor Pharma vaccine may lead for the creation of a potential functional HIV cure. This reduces the viral load among patients and latest result has shown 64 percent less median viral load within 6 months.

Vacc-4X From Bionor Pharma

Bionor Pharma now focuses its efforts to pass its new Vacc-4x drug in clinical trials apparently the first functional cure against HIV. The company announced the test results from its randomized, multicenter, double-blinded and placebo-controlled Phase II trial on 136 patients with Vacc-4X, candidate cure vs. AIDS-causing virus.

Between July 2008 and June 2010, the drug company conducted Phase II study for Vacc-4x on adults infected with HIV-1 aged 18 to 55 in 18 sites in Germany, Italy, Spain, UK and the U.S.

Around 174 individuals were screened but enrolment stopped with 136 participants were 93 randomly assigned to receive Vacc-4x while the remaining 43 to receive placebo. Subjects who completed 6-month interruption of antiretroviral drugs have showed 64 percent viral load reduction compared to those under placebo.

"Researchers are optimistic that the data offers clues for how such a vaccine could be optimised and offer the first new treatment modality in HIV in over coming years. We need to understand why Vacc-4X appears to have worked much better in some patients than in other, in order to help expedite its regulatory approval," Dr. Richard Pollard, chief of infectious disease at University of California Davis, said according to MarketWired.

Working Mechanism

Vacc-4x could become the first cure against HIV. It is considered as one of the most advanced therapeutic vaccines under development with demonstrated efficacy on the virus. Bionor Pharma followed the strategy, "Kick, Kill and Boost," to achieve a functional cure.

Using this strategy, Vacc-4x gets a powerful mechanism to reduce viral load inside the human body and may flush out the virus permanently.

1.   Release dormant HIV reservoirs residing in infected human cells.

2.   Encourage HIV destruction through immune response evoked by Vacc-4x.

3.   Boost the immune system by strengthening it to maximize attack against HIV.

Adverse Effects

Since Vacc-4x is still under clinical trials which will reveal adverse effects in humans, one serious event according to The Lancet that Vacc-4x may have exacerbate multiple sclerosis and reported as possibly related to the study treatment.

Also, Vacc-4x is immunogenic that provokes an immune response to fight infection which in this case is HIV. It induces rapid growth of immune cells such as CD4 and CD8 T-cell populations that aid destruction of the AIDS-causing virus.

Current Interpretation

Certain proportion of the participants resumed ART before study treatment ended and change in CD4 counts during the treatment interruption showed no benefits of vaccination. It was also revealed that Vacc-4x was safe, well-tolerated, immunogenic and seemed to have contributed to a viral-load set point reduction after the interruption of ART, which considered an important factor for future HIV-cure strategies.

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