Written by a virologist for a clinical readership - but likely to have broader appeal - this article describes in some technical detail the challenge that the unique biology of HIV infection poses to vaccine development. It provides an expert view of the strengths and weaknesses of current vaccine designs, the kind of immunity they trigger, and safety issues.

Letvin argues, with reference to animal studies, that a vaccine may still be worthwhile even if it fails to completely eliminate HIV from the body (known as 'sterilising immunity'), on the grounds that it would enable people to control their virus infection sufficiently to live longer and healthier lives, as well as lower the chance of the virus spreading to others.


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