Clinical trials of new HIV vaccine in South Africa in 2016

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hiv-vaccine-2016HIV/AIDS vaccine status: U.S health officials have said that a new experimental AIDS vaccine will be tested in South Africa in the near future.  This vaccine is said to be the most effective one tried so far.

From previous disastrous trials, they have modified the vaccine, and have so far prevented infection by about a third in controlled studies, and it is hoped that it will work better in the new trial to be conducted in South Africa.

It’s been 7 years since the scientific community embarked on a large-scale clinical trial of an HIV vaccine, and now it’s happening again after years of study and experimentation.  The trail is being conducted by the National Institute of Allery and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), under the watchful eye of Dr Anthony Fauci.

An effective and safe HIV vaccine could help to ensure a permanent end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic sweeping Africa and the World.  Southern Africa is one of the places where the vaccine is especially needed as the HIV virus and HIV infection is more prevalent in South Africa than most places in the world.

The cure for HIV has not yet been found, but with cocktails of antiviral drugs it can keep the AIDS causing virus under control.  If people take these same drugs, they could protect themselves against infection.  This approach is called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP.  It has been proven to reduce the risk of catching the HIV virus by up to 90 percent in someone if used consistently.  This approach is not cheap at all, and in developing countries, people might not be able to stick to it as a direct result of the cost and the special challenges of the Africa continent.

The HIV virus infects around 35 million people globally and kills 1.2 million a year.  The best way to fight this virus would be to have a good vaccine.

Some encouraging progress has been made, the new HIV infections have dropped by 35 percent globally since the year 2000.  The ultimate game changer would be the development of a safe and effective vaccine.

The vaccine being tested is based on a U.S. Military vaccine namely RV144 which had protected 31 percent of the volunteers in Thailand in the year 2009.

The construction and schedule of the RV144 vaccine regimen have been modified to try to raise the magnitude and duration of vaccine-elicited immune responses.

The trial is scheduled to begin in November 2016, pending the regulatory approval.  NIAID is hoping to sign up 5,400 people who are not infected with the HIV virus.

There are other vaccines that are in the works and then some researchers are also currently testing drugs called microbicides, which could protect people from sexual transmission of the HIV virus.

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