Human immunodeficiency virus or HIV has been eluding experts, researchers, and doctors since the 1980s when the virus was recognized and named. According to Healthwise, after 10 to 12 years with HIV, the virus could reduce T-cell counts enough to move into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS. There is no known cure for HIV though advances in antiretroviral medications have prolonged life spans of those affected with the virus. PepTCell Limited is testing a potential vaccine that could change the face of the world.
Who is PepTCell Limited?
PepTCell Limited is a company focusing on development and testing of vaccines. In addition to HIV, the company works with other autoimmune disorders, infectious diseases, and organ transplants. The company was established in 2004 making it a relative newcomer in the field, but the company website claims the concept is more than 20 years old.
PepTCell Vaccine Clinical Trial Information
According to Clinicaltrials.gov, the PepTCell study is still in the recruiting stages. Participants have HIV load and CD4 T cell counts taken on days one, two, seven, 14, 21, and 28 before the vaccination is given. After being vaccinated, follow-up counts are taken at eight, 12, 16, 20, and 24 weeks. Counts needed for the study require seven months of active participation, which could mean PepTCell will extend the study beyond December 2010 if new participants are added this late in the game.
How is PepTCell Supposed to Prevent HIV?
Unlike other potential HIV vaccination candidates that mutated once in contact with the virus, PepTCell’s vaccination targets a protein found in at least 5,600 strains of HIV. The vaccine is not antibody-based, rather it is a synthetic compound designed around “HIV immunogenic and conserved epitopes,” according to the PepTCell Limited website. The vaccine is said to be safe and simple to synthesize in chemical plants.
What Happens After the Trial is Complete?
After the phase 1b trial is complete in the UK, researchers will gather data and report clinical information via a medical journal and, possibly, a press release. Phase 1b is just the starting point for human trials. There are four more potential trials the drug will need to pass through before being approved for use as a viable HIV vaccination. Phase 1b is followed, most often, by Phase 1 / 2, Phase 2, Phase 3, and Phase 4. After completion of Phase 3, reports are sent to the FDA for approval, in the United States. Phase 4 trials are typically used to test the drug in situations other than the originally intended. For instance, PepTCell Limited could choose to test the HIV vaccine against other autoimmune diseases during Phase 4 studies.
“Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection – Topic Overview.” Healthwise Information Therapy – Ix for Better Health Decisions. Web. 14 July 2010.
PepTCell Limited. Web. 14 July 2010.
“HIV Vaccine Study in HIV Positive Patients.” Home – ClinicalTrials.gov. 17 Feb. 2010. Web. 14 July 2010.