A new dance video depicting the HIV infection cycle brings the worlds of science and the arts together.
Released on June 5 in collaboration with the #endHIV campaign, the video sees dancers act out the beginning, middle and end of HIV infection within the cells, with the dancers playing the roles of blood cells as they are attacked by the virus. The end of the video depicts how the new proposed HIV vaccine works to defeat the virus.
Choreographed by Ryan Heffington, the choreographer behind Sia's iconic "Chandelier" video, the dancers act out how the infection affects the body on a cellular level, as Oscar winner Julianne Moore narrates how the virus takes hold, and how the proposed vaccine defeats the virus. The video is set to music composed by Grammy winning composer Lucian Piane.
In the video, the dancers portray how the white blood cells work together in harmony when they're healthy, and how they fight off typical infections like the flu. It goes on to show why the body cannot fight off the HIV virus, on a cellular level.
"HIV enters the body in possession of an insider's understanding of the immune system," Moore explains in her narration. "It already knows how to evade and destroy. HIV's outer coat mutates constantly as it replicates itself."
Moore explains that in the time it takes for the body to register the HIV infection and begin producing antibodies to fight it off, the cells will mutate and transform, so it will appear that "the original virus has disappeared."
"In its place are scores of mutated HIV molecules, none of which resemble the first," she says, noting that because the virus is then "unchallenged", the white blood cells will produce more of the virus "instead of fighting to protect the body". In turn, this will leave "the body defenseless against other infections".
"A new vaccine technology is ready for testing," says Moore, explaining that the new drug "[teaches] the body to attack a vulnerable spot in HIV's reproduction cycle."
Essentially, the vaccine stops the HIV cell from mutating, which in turn "allows the body to finally see, grab hold of, and destroy the very protein HIV uses to infect human cells."
Another video released by the campaign details the 15 year journey to get to the point where the vaccine is ready for clinical trials, the difficulties of getting a new treatment approved by the FDA for the public, and how we can help make it happen.
Click here to find out more about the campaign.