There may be a vaccine for HIV soon, according to the head of the Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in SA, Professor Salim Abdool Karim.
He says researchers are currently testing an antibody manufactured in South Africa which could help in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
“I am much more optimistic about a vaccine and the reason I am optimistic is because with HIV there is a lot of variability, we call it genetic diversity. This virus changes itself all the time and we have every different kind of HIV,” he said.
“When you make an antibody against HIV, it will only kill this HIV and not the others. Well, a few years ago there was a discovery that you get broadly neutralising antibodies, these a very special antibodies that only a handful of people make these antibodies naturally. So when you can find one of those broadly neutralising antibodies, manufacture it and inject it into people, you can now protect, in animal studies, you can protect animals from getting a monkey form of HIV.”
South Africa remains the epicenter of HIV, with as many as one in five adults infected.
World Aids Day was commemorated on Tuesday.