Experts are looking into possibilities of AIDS cure from HIV-infected patients called "controllers" who contracted the virus but never got sick. The Immunity Project aims to create free HIV vaccine for global population based on the blood from HIV controllers.
HIV Controllers Research
Immunity against HIV/AIDS is a very rare state and people called HIV controllers with this natural trait may be the key to unlock the first free and functional vaccine. HIV controllers have the natural ability to become immune against the dangerous effects of HIV such as getting sick due to opportunistic infections or reaching latent stage known as AIDS.
For every 300 people with HIV, only one of them has the natural immunity to the virus and can live without immediate needs for antiretroviral since the disease do not progress to AIDS.
Researchers are looking into this superhuman biological trait in order to figure out the blood pattern and proteins which made HIV controllers immune to the virus.
"We believe that controllers are an important part of moving forward with vaccine development because they are clearly doing something right in defending against the virus," Dr Reid Rubsamen, CEO of the Immunity Project told Healthline.
Researchers will use the latest technology based on computerised analysis to find which part of controllers' blood are able to fight off or resist the HIV infection and latent effects.
The Immunity Project
The help of computer scientists from different universities and industries will allow the non-profit organisation called The Immunity Project to focus on determining HIV life cycle on controllers.
By hacking and analysing their blood, experts will attempt to unlock key factors on why HIV controllers are able to retain very low viral loads and unable to develop AIDS.
"These beneficial targets have been identified by researchers in university laboratories and private industry who have used computer-assisted statistical analysis to essentially reverse engineer the targets on the HIV virus preferred by the controller's T-cells," Dr Rubsamen explained.
Statistical analysis of T-cells behaviour from blood of controllers revealed that they attack specified targets on the virus which forces it to weakened state and unable to progress to develop full-blown AIDS.
Creation of Vaccine
Their findings about special traits of HIV controllers pave way to the development of HIV vaccine and according to the Immunity project, these targets have been formulated into the Flow Pharma vaccine candidate.
A vaccine based on HIV controllers' design will allow non-infected HIV people to become HIV controllers themselves - somewhat spreading immunity against a fast-spreading virus. If the vaccine works perfectly in other humans, HIV/AIDS epidemic may come to an end very soon.
Due to their game-changing planning, the Immunity Project already received great funding and still continues. Microsoft donated $1 million for the effort but still require more than $100,000 in order to advance to clinical trials of using human blood in mice.