DURBAN – The first AIDS vaccine designed for Africa will begin human trials in August in Oxford, England.
This was announced yesterday (Tuesday) by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), which said that the British Medicines Control Agency had approved Phase One testing of a vaccine based on HIV subtype A.
The vaccine is the produce of a partnership between Professor Andrew McMichael of Oxford University and Professor J J Bwayo of the University of Nairobi, Kenya and is designed to activate white blood cells so that they can destroy HIV-infected cells.
“For HIV, this approach may be more effective than the traditional vaccine approach of stimulating antibodies,” said McMichael.
Although more than 25 trial vaccines have been tested in humans, this is the first one designed for Africa. The trials, which will involve 18 volunteers, will test a vaccine that is designed to be curative rather than preventative. It is hoped that the trials will result in a protective vaccine that is ready for use within the next five to ten years.
In South Africa, the dominant HIV subtype is subtype C, so it remains to be seen what impact the British-Kenyan vaccine will have on the South African Vaccine Initiative which plans to begin Phase 1 trials early next year.
However, if a vaccine is to be developed soon, far more resources need to be devoted to vaccine research. The chairperson of IAVI’s Scientific Advisory Committee Dr Jaap Goudsmit said that of the US $20 billion that the world spends on AIDS each year, only $350 million is for vaccine research and development. -Health-e News