"Although these data are promising, we need to remain cautious", study leader Dan Barouch, a Harvard Medical School professor, told AFP. "We have to acknowledge that developing an HIV vaccine is an unprecedented challenge, and we will not know for sure whether this vaccine will protect humans".
The experimental HIV-1 vaccine is one of five that have progressed to tests of effectiveness in humans.
Only one vaccine has ever shown evidence of protecting against HIV.
Comparatively, the new HIV vaccine yielded better immunization rate and virtually no side effects.
This study was funded by Janssen Vaccines & Prevention BV, US National Institutes of Health, Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, Henry M Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, US Department of Defense, and International AIDS Vaccine Initiative.
Meant to provide broad protection from the many strains of HIV that are prevalent worldwide, the "mosaic" vaccine contains a patchwork of genetic sequences found among various HIV strains.
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The new vaccine was tested in 393 healthy people considered at low risk for infection and 72 rhesus monkeys.
"We eagerly await the results of the phase 2b efficacy trial called HVTN705, or "Imbokodo", which will determine whether or not this vaccine will protect humans against acquiring HIV".
Scientists announced Saturday that they had already piloted an experimental HIV vaccine, which triggered an immune reaction in lab animals and successfully immunized monkeys from the infection.
However, scientists in the United States have created a vaccine that has managed to get to the first step, with nearly 400 healthy uninfected adults mounting an immune response to the vaccine.
BBC News reported on the study Saturday, noting that there are now over 37 million people living with HIV/AIDS around the globe, and the number increases by 1.8 million every year. However, because the mosaic vaccine attacks multiple strains of the virus, doctors would be able to administer it on a much broader scale, and it could potentially be a powerful weapon against HIV if all goes well.
The scientists carried out a parallel study where they gave rhesus monkeys the vaccine to check for the analysis to protect monkeys from getting simian-human immunodeficiency virus - a virus which is similar to HIV that infects monkeys. All of the vaccine combinations turned out safe and produced an anti-HIV immunity. All vaccine regimens were well-tolerated and induced robust immune responses in the participants. They also note that there is no definitive immunological measurement that is known to predict protection against HIV-1 in humans.