Observed every year on April 18th, World AIDS Vaccine Day aims at spreading awareness about one of the major global public health issues, AIDS and the need to have a vaccine against HIV, the virus causing AIDS. Notably, it has been around four decades now since the outbreak of HIV/AIDS epidemic and we still not have an effective vaccine against the virus which has claimed lives of approximately 32 million people till now and has affected 75 million people around the globe, says WHO. Also known as HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, World AIDS Vaccine Day is a significant campaign that can help in controlling the increasing prevalence of HIV and AIDS through active awareness programmes. Also Read - We May Never Have a COVID-19 Vaccine and Have to Live With The Disease Forever
What is The Significance of an AIDS Vaccine?
Vaccines are the most cost-effective and powerful tool to prevent deadly viral infections. As far as the AIDS vaccine is concerned, it is important as a significant number of people (21.40 Lakhs) were living with HIV in the year 2017, says the National AIDS Control Organisation. According to a research journal Avert, around 37.9 million people were living with HIV in 2019 globally. And, the prevalence is increasing every year. Also Read - COVID-19 Vaccine May Never be Found, Warns British PM Boris Johnson
Why is it so Challenging to Make AIDS Vaccine?
HIV is a complex virus that mutates and changes its structure furiously. It has a trimeric envelope protein on its outer surface, whose structure changes extremely quickly. A normal pathogen takes around 6 months to mutate, however, HIV does so within a few days. Also, it mutates within a host’s body. This is what has created multiple sub-types of this virus around the globe. The ability of the virus to change its structure and still regain its pathogenicity has rendered scientific approaches to immunize people using an inactive HIV. We need to be quicker than the HIV to find a way to combat it and flush out the infection from the world. Also Read - COVID-19 Result of Attempt to Manufacture Vaccine Against AIDS Virus? Nobel Winning Scientist Sparks New Controversy