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Precision Vaccinations: HIV Vaccine Acceptance Depends on Behavioral and Clinical Success

By May 30, 2022June 2nd, 2022No Comments

From Precision Vaccinations:

The first human trials of mRNA-based vaccines targeted against HIV began earlier this year. And these phase 1 studies are making encouraging progress with patient recruitment.

However, epidemiologists and virologists have recently voiced ‘cautious optimism’ about these vaccine candidates’ success.

It is also essential to engage behavioral scientists early in vaccine development. Scientists must think about how to place biological solutions within prevailing social norms, stated an article written by Devi Leena Bose on May 16, 2022.

Published by the journal Nature, this insightful article is excerpted below.

‘For an HIV vaccine to be acceptable, experts need to strategize from users’ behavior-resistance point of view.

Gagandeep Kang, a professor at the Wellcome Trust Research Laboratory in Christian Medical College Vellore, says bodily integrity matters the most to people while making health-related choices.

“In a way, vaccines breach that integrity.”

“An HIV vaccine will struggle with this whenever it comes in the future,” she says.

In his book Change: How to Make Big Things Happen, Damon Centola suggests that, while information and disease spread through ‘simple contagions,’ behavior change often takes place in ‘complex contagions,’ meaning it requires multiple sources of reinforcement.

So, for example, if an idea needs to overcome more resistance, its acceptance will likely be a complex contagion.

Based on Centola’s work, the journey of an HIV vaccine needs to be understood through this prism of complex contagions where intervention needs to cross some critical barriers:

Read more at Precision Vaccinations.

News Mention

  • Damon Centola headshot

    Damon Centola, PhD

    Professor in the Annenberg School for Communication, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences