A long-awaited HIV vaccine that could provide complete protection against HIV infection may be developed within five years, HIV codiscoverer Robert Gallo said Tuesday. "You've always got to worry about being confident with this beast," said Gallo, director of the Institute for Human Virology at the University of Maryland. "But we're excited. We have a shot."
Several experimental HIV vaccines, including one by researchers at the Institute for Human Virology, are in development that aim to produce antibody responses to invading virus, stimulate a cellular response to HIV in the body, or both. Gallo said it's important for a vaccine to be developed soon because there is a perception among many that the threat of HIV has diminished because of antiretroviral therapy, which has led to complacency about safer sex and rising HIV infection rates in the United States and other developed countries.