Catalan HIV vaccine reduces level of virus

Personalized treatment could save resources spent on antiretroviral drugs

An HIV vaccine developed by scientists in Catalonia appears to reduce the level of the virus in infected patients, an initial trial has shown.

The personalized treatment involves taking samples of dendritic immune cells and "reeducating" them to attack the virus using samples of HIV also taken from individual patients, explained Josep María Gatell, researcher at the IDIBAPS-Hospital Clinic and leader of the project. The adjusted cells are then injected back into the patient in three stages.

At 3,000 euros, the injections would cost significantly less than antiretroviral drug treatments currently used to keep the virus at bay, which cost 8,000 euros a year. Antiretrovirals also have the disadvantage of needing to be taken for life and wearing down health.

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