Q and A

Question

Why did we get a COVID-19 vaccine so quickly, but there is still no vaccine for HIV?

Answer

There are several answers to this question – and many people arr asking this.

Money and funding played a big part. More resources were focused on COVID-19. Whether rightly or wrongly, the urgency of COVID-19 led to a much larger budget. Luckily, this has been more effective than anyone first hoped.

There was rapid and close collaboration Рbetween researchers, drug companies, health authorities and governments. Together of course with thousands of people who joined studies around the world.

COVID-19 is also and easier viral infection than HIV. SARS-CoV-2 does not hide inside the our DNA like HIV. The COVID-19 virus is also more stable. HIV changes very quickly to evade every vaccine so far invented.

But the question about HIV could be asked for every other infection where we are still waiting for a vaccine or for better treatment.

HIV does have at least 30 approved treatments. These mean we can now lead long and healthy lives.

The scientific advances made with COVID-19 will help other vaccines though, including HIV. For example, Moderna, the company behind one of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, plans to use the same advances for HIV. See this press release from 11 January 2021.

This is one of more than 60 questions about COVID vaccines. It was produced by and for people living with HIV.
Q&A on COVID vaccines: are they safe and effective?
https://i-base.info/qa/16330

This answer was updated on 6 February 2021 from an original post on 22 December 2020.

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