When the best of these vaccine candidates were given to mice, the animals' immune systems produced antibodies that successfully attached to the fusion protein and neutralized 31 percent of viruses from a panel of 208 HIV strains collected from regions around the world.
Subsequent experiments in guinea pigs and rhesus monkeys proved that the vaccine works in multiple species – an encouraging sign that it will also work in us.
"NIH scientists have used their detailed knowledge of the structure of HIV to find an unusual site of vulnerability on the virus and design a novel and potentially powerful vaccine," NIAID Director Dr Anthony S. Fauci said in a statement. "This elegant study is a potentially important step forward in the ongoing quest to develop a safe and effective HIV vaccine."
According to their press release, the NIAID group are currently tweaking the vaccine using data from monkey trials in order to have the most ideal version ready for the upcoming phase 1 assessment in human subjects.