A new HIV vaccine will undergo a larger clinical trial in South Africa after a small study in the country showed promising results last year.
CNN reports that vaccine, ALVAC-HIV/gp120, showed sufficient immune response in the trial of 252 healthy volunteers in South Africa, who were given either the vaccine or a placebo in the 2015 study.
That study, in turn, was prompted by a 2009 trial in Thailand with a 60 percent rate of protection against the virus after one year and a 31 percent rate at the end of the trial — the first to ever show any signs of success.
Health officials next turned to sub-Saharan Africa, which is home to the majority of newly reported HIV infections as well as a second subtype of the virus.
“We wanted to see a particular immune picture that would suggest that a big efficacy trial would be likely to yield results,” Linda Gail Bekker of Cape Town’s Desmond Tutu HIV Centre told the network.
The new trial, set to run for three years beginning in November, will involve 5,400 people from four sites in South Africa.
Although scientists ultimately hope to license an HIV vaccine, they acknowledge that it will take much longer than the latest trial to make that happen.
“We are ultimately going to need a vaccine to shut it down,” Bekker said.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery