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SA researcher files patent for new HIV vaccine

Single-dose vaccine clogs pores to AIDS-causing virus

SAN ANTONIO - Three years from now, it's hoped that a vaccine for the virus that causes AIDS has been found in San Antonio, that it works, and that it will be approved by the FDA.

That's the timetable for a local researcher who just filed a patent for a new approach to preventing HIV.

Dr. Marie Claire Gauduin, with the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, is exuberant explaining her new strategy to stop HIV from ever even penetrating the skin.

"By the end of next year, we should have that layer of protection and then we'll start to challenge," she said. "That's why I'm so happy."

Her excitement stems from a single-dose vaccine that creates sort of a coat of armor, preventing a tricky virus from finding entry to our bodies through any pore.

"We thought if we could protect just the layer of entry, at the site of entry, then we don't have to deal with it," she said.

The answer was a stronger, virus resistant layer of skin, constantly growing from our own stem cells.

"The vaccine is already been tested in the lab," she said. "In January, it'll be tested in monkeys. After that, if it's successful, it'll be tested on humans. Then the impact could be enormous."

Gaudin describes the vaccine strategy as one dose -- for a lifetime.

At the San Antonio AIDS Foundation, the news of the patent is being met with hope, albeit a bit tempered by the fact that a vaccine is not a cure.

"If they do come up with the vaccine, what are we going to do with the people who are still infected with HIV?" asked the foundation's David Ewell. "It's still going to be a problem for a while until they can cure the actual virus itself."

Ewell said until then, the foundation will always be around until there is a cure.

"Everyone who still has HIV and ADIS gets special quality (and) compassionate care," he said.

The timing of the announcement of the Texas Biomed patent comes at a good time. Next week is AIDS Awareness Week. Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day. There will be a gathering of remembrance and hope for those impacted by the virus.

For a list of recent stories Ursula Pari has done, click here.


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