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Experimental HIV vaccine to be tested on humans next year

Gorkha Post

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An experimental HIV vaccine — which is safely used to protect animals from dozens of strains of HIV and triggered strong immune responses in healthy adults and monkeys — will soon be tested on humans, researchers said.

Researchers say the vaccine targets a vulnerable part of the virus that causes AIDS and triggers antibody production in mice, guinea pigs, and monkeys.

Scientists are making refinements to the vaccine, such as boosting its potency to produce a version suitable for testing in people.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Vaccine Research Center hope to start a human trial of the vaccine next year. They say it also protected two-thirds of monkeys against an HIV-like virus.

Though results of animal studies are not always the same in humans, researchers are encouraged by this early-stage study, which included nearly 400 healthy people.

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For their next step, they are launching a new vaccine trial that will include 2,600 women in southern Africa who are at risk of HIV infection. The experimental HIV-1 vaccine is one of five that have progressed to tests of effectiveness in humans.

While previous experimental HIV-1 vaccines have usually been limited to specific regions of the world, this vaccine combines different HIV viruses. The aim is to trigger immune responses against a wide variety of HIV strains, according to authors of the study published in The Lancet medical journal.

“These results should be interpreted cautiously,” study leader Dr Dan Barouch said in a journal news release, adding,” The challenges in the development of an HIV vaccine are unprecedented, and the ability to induce HIV-specific immune responses does not necessarily indicate that a vaccine will protect humans from HIV infection.”

Barouch is director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and also a professor at Harvard Medical School.

With Agency Inputs

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Regular bedtime beneficial for heart and metabolic health among older adults

Raghu Kshitiz

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KATHMANDU — Sufficient sleep has been proven to help keep the body healthy and the mind sharp. But a new study on sleep patterns has suggested that a regular bedtime and wake time are just as important for heart and metabolic health among older adults too.

Researchers at Duke Health and the Duke Clinical Research Institute, in a study of 1,978 older adults, have found that people with irregular sleep patterns weighed more, had higher blood sugar, higher blood pressure, and a higher projected risk of having a heart attack or stroke within 10 years than those who slept and woke at the same times every day.

The study  was published Sept 21 in the journal Scientific Reports.

“From our study, we can’t conclude that sleep irregularity results in health risks, or whether health conditions affect sleep,” said study’s lead author Jessica Lunsford-Avery.

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“Perhaps all of these things are impacting each other.”

African-Americans had the most irregular sleep patterns compared to participants who were white, Chinese-American or Hispanic, the data showed.

Still, the data suggest tracking sleep regularity could help identify people at risk of disease, and where health disparities may impact specific groups.

Irregular sleepers were also more likely to report depression and stress than regular sleepers, both of which are tied to heart health.

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