Scientists have released the first footage of a potential Aids vaccine hard at work. The video shows the part of the vaccine, inflammasome, kill the infected cells in a live mouse.
The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, uses the vaccine candidate MVA-HIV, which is currently under investigation by the French Vaccine Research Institute (VRI) and the Agence Nationale de Recherche sur le Sida (ANR), while the footage shows how the vaccine recruits enough cells to destroy its target.
The authors of the report, from Institut Pasteur and Inserm, wrote inflammasome has "an important role in shaping adaptive immunity" against the HIV virus.
"Our research demonstrates the potential of the vaccine candidate MVA-HIV to trigger a significant, diverse immune response," said Philippe Bousso, research director at Institut Pasteur, and an author of the study. "This is the first time that the formation of this original structure, the inflammasome, has been observed in vivo [a live subject] and in real time."
The vaccine was given to a healthy, live mouse in an attempt to see how it affected its immune system. Within hours, the vaccine arrived at the mouse's lymph node, where the cells are made as a response to the infected cells.
The inoculation is designed to reduce the virulence of a poxvirus by increasing the production of inflammasome – the string of proteins that target the HIV.
The inflammasome encourages the cytokine, Interleukin-1 – a chemical messenger – to begin production. This, in turn, triggers more immunisation cells to assemble and kill the infected cell once and for all.
The footage shows the inflammasome – bright green circled blobs – attack the infected cells, which are shown in green too. Some of the infected cells begin to disappear, showing inflammasome is effective in killing MVA-HIV.