This is still very early research, but it's worth passing along.
An international team of scientists has reported impressive results in their first animal trial of a new vaccine that might be applicable to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In monkeys, the equivalent virus is called SIV (Simian Immunodeficiency Virus) and it's a close cousin to HIV, the human version.
Using a surprisingly simple formulation (or actually three similar formulations), French and Chinese researchers were able to prevent SIV infection in 23 of 24 macaques getting the vaccine, for at least four years. In the control group, all 24 monkeys were infected.
The vaccine works by deliberately suppressing a portion of the immune system, the part that triggers a response by CD4 T-cells. The CD4 cells are the target of the HIV virus (and the SIV virus), and when an infection occurs the resulting spike in CD4-T production just provides the virus a lot more hosts to infect. The CD4 trigger is suppressed in part by including standard "good" bacteria in the vaccine, of the kind seen in probiotics found in any health food store. Somehow, this allows the virus to escape the notice of the CD4 triggering mechanism.
Instead, the vaccine stimulates a minor player in the immune system, the CD8 T-cell.
Original research is here.
Updated to correct errors in news article (and how predictable is that ... )