Nuevas vacunas contra al VIH basadas en los anticuerpos que genera el organismo



El desarrollo de una  contra el  a partir de los anticuerpos que genera el propio organismo es uno de los temas que aborda el curso ‘Vacunas para el Siglo XXI’, organizado por la Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo (UIMP) en colaboración con el Grupo de Estudio de Vacunación en el Adulto (GEsVA) y que se imparte estos días en Santander.

En la sesión inaugural, el doctor José Alcamí, jefe de la Unidad de Inmunopatología del  del Instituto de Salud Carlos III, explicó que “las nuevas líneas de investigación frente al virus de la Inmunodeficiencia Humana (VIH) se basan en la caracterización de unos anticuerpos de gran actividad frente al virus que se encuentran en el 5% de los pacientes infectados, lo que nos permitirá estudiar su comportamiento y diseñar una nueva generación de vacunas que permita inducir este tipo de anticuerpos de gran potencia capaces de bloquear el virus del ”.

Este hallazgo abre una nueva vía para luchar contra esta enfermedad que, en nuestro país, contraen al año entre 3.500 y 4.000 personas. “Los errores y desaciertos del pasado nos han permitido comprender mejor el motivo de los fracasos de las vacunas previas y definir una serie de dianas en el virus que son las importantes”, aclara el doctor Alcamí. Aun así, a diferencia de otros virus o infecciones bacterianas, como la gripe, la hepatitis B, la difteria o el tétanos, el de la Inmunodeficiencia Humana tiene unas características biológicas muy diferentes que le permiten esconderse del ataque del sistema inmune, “de ahí que en los últimos años no haya habido grandes avances al respecto”, puntualiza.

Aunque los tratamientos actuales han permitido cronificar la enfermedad hasta el punto de que, en la actualidad, la esperanza de vida en estos pacientes es casi similar a la de las personas no infectadas, “algo impensable hace 15 años, cuando la mayoría de los enfermos por VIH fallecían en un plazo de 4 o 5 años”, señala el Alcamí, la ciencia trabaja a contrarreloj en el desarrollo de una vacuna definitiva para  la infección por el virus del VIH.

A día de hoy, la esperanza de vida en pacientes con VIH se sitúa en los 70 años. “Aun así, existen todavía diez años de vida que hay que ganar y es que el virus no sólo envejece el sistema inmune, sino que provoca una envejecimiento precoz de aproximadamente 10 años de todo el organismo debido a la sobrecarga y el estrés que supone enfrentarse a la infección”. En estos pacientes se ha observado, asimismo, un mayor riesgo tumoral y de enfermedades cardiovasculares que en personas no infectadas.

Pese a los nuevos avances en el campo de la investigación, en opinión del doctor Alcamí, “la lucha contra el SIDA empieza por prevenir la transmisión. Es muy importante que la población tome conciencia de los riesgos porque, aunque hoy en día la gente no muere de SIDA, el tratamiento tiene efectos secundarios y el organismo paga un alto precio, como es el aumento de otras enfermedades. En los últimos años, la incidencia del virus VIH ha aumentado al producirse nuevas infecciones y una de las causas es la percepción social de que la infección por el VIH ya no se trata de una enfermedad mortal”.

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