• HIV vaccines

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A Johnson & Johnson (J&J) human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccination experiment resulted in a 50 percent survival rate among half of the monkeys that received the new "prime-boost" vaccine. It is real progress in the search for a HIV-AIDS cure, with the latter being the deadliest infectious disease in the entire world. Human trials of the new HIV vaccine have started.

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A grand total of 12 primates were injected with a monkey-version of the new HIV vaccine. Six were protected from the viral infection.

J&J has launched the first human trials for an AIDS vaccine since 2009, which includes 400 study volunteers in nations such as the United States, Thailand, and South Africa, according to Reliawire. The results will likely be released in 2016.

Researchers have had difficulty developing AIDS preventative vaccines. Only four of them have been used in further studies, and just one showed signs of being effective.    

Drug companies have been avoiding HIV vaccine trials for years. That was due to Merck & Co.'s vaccination that seemed to increase the risk of contracting HIV, according to Benchmark Reporter.

Paul Stoffels is J&J's chief scientific officer. He stated that it seemed highly likely that his company's new AIDS vaccine would show efficacy in human trials.

The ongoing monkey trials are testing the shot's safety and ability to create an immune response. Positive results could result in a bigger study in which J&J would test if the AIDS vaccine could protect people. The second study would be published in 2020.

The vaccine has 2 parts. The first is a cold-causing virus that inserts 3 HIV proteins into the patient's body, which triggers the production of antibodies. The vaccine's second part is a booster that includes a purified HIV protein that increases the body's response.

A medical center in Boston vaccinated 12 monkeys with a "prime-boost" vaccine. Half stayed HIV-free.                

The recent J&J study was published Thursday in the journal Science.

About 1.5 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2013. Meanwhile, the deadly disease that can develop in HIV patients has resulted in an estimated 39 million fatalities since 1981.