Aids Vaccine Trials Due to Start in March 2002
SOURCE: IRIN PlusNews HIV/AIDS Briefs,
13 August 2001
Human trials of a new AIDS vaccine
are to start in South Africa and the United States simultaneously in March
2002. Scientists are currently in the process of selecting 48 HIV-negative
volunteers to participate in the phase one trials at the RK Kahn Hospital
The study should be completed in
early 2003, 11 months after the vaccine is first administered to the volunteers.
Some of the participants would receive placebos, as this is standard in
The vaccine, which is being developed
by the MRC and the US company Alphavax, has been designed to target Type
C HIV infection, the HIV strain that afflicts the majority of South Africans
with HIV/AIDS and is also most prevalent in the rest of southern Africa.
Researchers are hopeful that it will work against all strains of the virus.
More than 30 vaccine candidates have
been tested in phase one clinical trials since HIV was identified as the
cause of AIDS nearly 20 years ago, but only one has so far progressed to
phase three trials, the definitive test of a vaccine's efficacy, involving
thousands of volunteers. Phase one trials are usually meant to determine
whether the vaccine has major side effects, while phase two trials involve
a larger pool of volunteers and test the vaccine to see whether it works.
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