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In 1984, after the confirmation of the etiological agent of AIDS by scientists at the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Pasteur Institute, the United States Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler declared that a vaccine would be available within two years. However, the classical vaccination approach that is successful in the control of other viral diseases - priming the adaptive immunity to recognize the viral envelope proteins - did not work against HIV. Many factors make the development of an HIV vaccine different from other classic vaccines:
* Classic vaccines mimic natural immunity against reinfection as seen in individuals recovered from infection; there are almost no recovered AIDS patients.
* Most vaccines protect against disease, not against infection; HIV infection may remain latent for long periods before causing AIDS.
* Most effective vaccines are whole-killed or live-attenuated organisms; killed HIV-1 does not retain antigenicity and the use of a live retrovirus vaccine raises safety issues.
HIV vaccine: Difficulties in development (Wikipedia)