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New HIV vaccine to be trialled in South Africa

Joseph McCormick July 20, 2016
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Blood test tubes

HIV testing should become part of routine healthcare, the HIV Commission says. (Getty)

A new vaccine against HIV will soon be trialled this year in South Africa.

The vaccine has proven promising after a small trial in 2015, known as HVN100.

The previous trial simply tested the strength of immunity and the safety of the vaccine.

Researchers hope that the vaccine could prove to be effective in areas and within groups who are most at risk of HIV transmission.

In the small trial in 2015, 252 volunteers received either the vaccine or a placebo, and scientists compared their immune response.

The results of the previous trial were unveiled yesterday at the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban

“This was precautionary to see if the vaccine looks promising,” said Linda Gail Bekker, deputy director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, which is leading the new trials.

Bekker went on: “We’ve inserted specific inserts from viruses that have come off the subcontinent.”

“It gives the tick on all four, it does look promising and it should launch,” Gail Bekker said. “We wanted to see a particular immune picture that would suggest that a big efficacy trial would be likely to yield results,” she said.

“The obvious question is: Can we now replicate those results and can we improve upon them with greater breadth, depth and potency?” added Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

The new version of the drug hopes to have a more than 60 percent effectiveness at protecting against HIV transmission.

“We’re hoping this can be the first licensable vaccine regimen in the world,” said Bekker.

Prince Harry last week tried to tackle stigma on HIV – by taking an HIV test himself live on air.

Related topics: AIDS, HIV

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