HIV and AIDS are real problems in our world. To end their threat, we are working to get an AIDS vaccine tested and approved so that it can save lives. The vaccine works by removing HIV’s 'protective cloak' that allows it to hide from the immune system. Once the body can recognize the virus, it can fight it. Read below to learn more about this incredible vaccine and what you can do to help make it a reality for everyone.
Is there really still an AIDS epidemic? I thought it was solved.
The AIDS crisis is real, even though it no longer makes front page headlines. An estimated 33.3 million people were living with HIV/AIDS in 2009, and as many as 2 million more cases are diagnosed each year. Due to imperfect reporting and data collection, numbers in the US are hard to obtain, but the estimated number is over 1 million. And 1 in every 5 people living with HIV has not even been diagnosed. These cases span all ages, races and socioeconomic groups.
And with around 50,000 people being diagnosed in the US yearly, the problem only continues to get worse. Something must be done now.
What is re:solve from Chronic Disease Fund?
Re:solve is the funding initiative from Chronic Disease Fund, a non-profit organization committed to stepping in where a need exists. When promising science exists and is unable to receive traditional funding, but has the potential to save lives, we work to ensure that money does not stand in the way of allowing promising science to save lives.
With all the money being raised for AIDS, why is re:solve different?
Our goal is not to raise awareness about AIDS or assemble a group of experts to brainstorm ways to fight AIDS. Billions of dollars have already gone to that without producing a vaccine that can solve the problem for good.
Re:solve is different. We are determined to leave no stone unturned. We have identified a potential solution that works on all, not just some, of the strains of HIV. Our goal is to raise the money needed so scientists can conduct human trials.
Why Chronic Disease Fund?
Chronic Disease Fund is the national expert in copay assistance and patient access. For years, we have been getting medication to chronic disease patients who can't afford their prescriptions. As a result, we have become proficient at reaching patients in need. We've also created exceptionally efficient distribution channels, so we have the infrastructure to get this vaccine, if approved, to the people who need it, regardless of their ability to pay.
Plus, we care. We were built on the idea that no one should go without medication just because they can't afford it. Helping those stricken with HIV is just an extension of our core beliefs.
What is the re:solve AIDS project?
The re:solve AIDS project is raising money to get a promising AIDS vaccine through human testing so that it can be produced and made available to everyone who needs it.
BILLIONS OF DOLLARS HAVE BEEN SPENT, BUT A VACCINE HAS NOT BEEN INVENTED. RE:SOLVE IS DIFFERENT.
We will not allow promising science to remain unfunded. It is a moral imperative to leave no stone unturned.
Isn't there already medication to fight HIV?
There are drugs that HIV-positive individuals can take to control the condition, but they are estimated to cost in excess of $600,000 over a lifetime – $2,100 per month. This cocktail of drugs also has to be taken every day for the rest of the patient's life and may include side effects like diabetes and problems with the liver and heart.
This vaccine has the potential to spare patients a lifetime of ordeal and expense.
Is the vaccine real?
It's not only real, it's patented. Some of the greatest minds in the world have been working on the vaccine for years. The solution itself was initially found in the immune systems of a group of women in Africa, proving itself to work in the human body. The synthesized protein has been tested on laboratory animals and shows promise. We are raising funds for clinical human trials.
Essentially the way it works is that the vaccine binds to an HIV protein in such a way that the immune system can recognize it – and fight it. And what's unique about this vaccine is that it shows promise in all 5 major strains of HIV – not just one of them.
So what exactly does the vaccine do?
Basically, the vaccine prevents HIV from evolving into AIDS. That means that people can live the rest of their lives without the fear of dying from AIDS.
If this vaccine has promise, why doesn't a pharmaceutical company pay for it?
For decades, biochemists have been trying to cure HIV and AIDS to no avail. That means billions of dollars and man-hours have been exhausted without concrete results. Add to that the potential to manage the disease through a daily regime of drugs, and you can see why most companies turn their attention, time and resources to discovering solutions for other diseases that lack treatments.
In the meantime, millions of helpless victims around the world die of AIDS each year – most of whom are unable to afford or get access to available treatments. That's why we are determined to find a solution – to find a cure.
There is a moral imperative to develop a vaccine even if the only return on investment is hope for a cure.
What do donations pay for?
Right now the donations will help pay for human development and testing of the vaccine – which will cost around $15 million. To this point, the people at the helm of this project have invested more than $2 million to get the project up and running. But now we need your help.
The incredible thing about this vaccine is that, should it make it to the public and start saving lives, each and every donor and partner will be able to look at the impact and say, "I did that. I helped solve the AIDS crisis."
That's why this is so much more than just an appeal for help. It's an invitation that will let millions of people just like you become a part of a possible solution to a world crisis.
Why does testing cost so much?
Testing is a complex process regulated by national and international agencies. Plus, to comply with international standards and provide the proof needed to get the vaccine approved for widespread use, funding is needed for researchers, laboratories, testing, and a host of other people and services to ensure that the vaccine is safe for humans.
Developing treatments is serious and expensive, and everyone – including us – wants to ensure it is absolutely safe and effective.
THIS VACCINE HAS THE POTENTIAL TO SPARE PATIENTS A LIFETIME OF ORDEAL AND EXPENSE.
Will you help everyone who needs the vaccine, even people who can't pay?
Yes. We are fully committed to seeing that everyone in the world who will need this vaccine gets it. No one will be denied, because good health should not be dependent on wealth.
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DO THAT?
Chronic Disease Fund will ensure, as we do today, that people who desperately need life-saving medications receive them, regardless of their ability to pay.
WHAT CAN I DO NOW TO HELP?
Join us! Make a donation, help us get the word out, and if you know someone who would like to be an advocate, please contact us. The only way this promising vaccine can save lives is if YOU make it happen. On behalf of the millions of people whose lives could be changed: THANK YOU for your generous support.
For those of you looking for more scientific answers, check out these questions:
What is the scientific name of this vaccine?
The Tat Oyi vaccine is now in its third generation and is known as Tat Oyi-Cys22.
Is this really a vaccine?
Yes. Vaccines provide immunity against diseases and stimulate the manufacture of antibodies. In laboratory tests of the Tat Oyi vaccine, the vaccinated subjects have developed antibodies and demonstrated enhanced immunity.
How was it discovered?
In 1989, 25 pregnant women in Gabon tested positive for HIV. Though none of them were receiving treatment, 23 of the women began showing signs of immunity to the virus. More than that, all 23 of them were still in good health a decade later.
When scientists began studying this group of women, they determined that the women had been infected with a strain of HIV that had a mutated Transacting Transcriptional Activator (Tat) protein.
Because Tat is essential to HIV’s ability to replicate itself and attack the immune system of its host, they knew they had found something great. They named the vaccine Tat Oyi after one of the women in the study and began working toward replicating and improving the protein.
How does it work?
One of the reasons that most HIV strains are so deadly is that their Tat is invisible to the immune system, therefore the host’s body fails to produce the antibodies needed to fight HIV in the way we would any other illness.
Because Tat is secreted outside of cells, it is susceptible to elimination by immunization if it can be recognized. What makes the Tat Oyi protein unique is that it can be recognized by the host’s body and therefore immunized.
The Tat Oyi-Cys22 vaccine works with the same principles. It raises antibodies that recognize Tat variants – even with mutations. Subjects injected with the vaccine show increased antibodies: demonstrating the ability to fight a potential infection.
The Tat Oyi-Cys22 vaccine is a modification of Tat Oyi-SER22 that includes a cysteine substitution for serine at position 22, boosting its immunogenicity.
How has it been tested?
To date, laboratory tests have included mice, rabbits, monkeys, and one human. Subjects were tested before vaccination to ensure that none were already immune, then afterwards to determine whether or not antibodies had been produced and to what degree.
In subsequent tests, vaccinated test subjects were exposed to HIV. Those subjects were then studied over time to determine their ability to fight the infection and measure the immune response.
What are the test results?
Thus far, the testing is promising. The vaccine has shown itself to work in all 5 major strains of HIV and has produced results far better than any other potential vaccines – even those that are also Tat based. It has also produced no negative side effects in the vaccinated animals and person.
Rabbits were immunized using protein created by FASTMoc synthesis. Within 90 days, all had produced antibodies against all five (A, B, C, D, E) variants of HIV.