Russia makes progress in HIV/AIDS vaccine development

Russia is making significant progress in the development of an HIV vaccine, according to Alexei Mazus, the chief freelance specialist of the Russian Health Ministry in HIV/AIDS diagnostics and therapy.

Mazus, who is also the head of the Moscow Center for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment, discussed Russia's progress on the heels of the recent HIV cure in a 30-month-old baby in the U.S. Deborah Persaud, a virologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, recently presented the findings. The cure represents the world's second known case of a HIV cure, Interfax reports.

"Vaccines have been developed at three scientific centers, in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk," Mazus said, according to Interfax. "Hopefully, at least one of the three vaccines developed in Russia will become a scientific step forward."

Mazus said that the Russian vaccines are merely candidates, but they could be used three to five years from now. He said the Russian vaccine candidates operate on a different principle than an HIV vaccine candidate that was found to be only 30 percent effective in cases approximately 18 months ago.

"There was a hope about 18 months ago that the world had developed an efficient HIV vaccine, but tests done in Thailand showed that it was efficient only in 30 percent of cases while the target rate was 90 percent," Mazus said, according to Interfax. "Our vaccine operates on a different principle. The vaccine will operate on the following principle - a person is inoculated and can do whatever he or she wants. Then there is a question who should be inoculated and if the inoculated is needed by everyone. But this is not a scientific question."

Mazus said that even though the U.S. has long been the leader in allocations for vaccine development and research, Russia is in no way lagging behind in scientific development, Interfax reports.

"We cannot say we are lagging behind," Mazus said, according to Interfax. "This is wrong. We have serious research works, we make reports at scientific forums and we have outstanding scientists."