First large-scale African HIV study starts

Feb. 8, 2007 at 2:55 PM
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SEATTLE, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- The first large-scale study of a candidate HIV vaccine in Africa has been announced by study collaborators in the United States and South Africa.

The four-year trial will involve up to 3,000 participants at five sites across South Africa as part of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, which is headquartered and coordinated at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

"This trial will answer several major scientific issues that face all of us in the field of HIV-vaccine development," said Dr. Lawrence Corey, the network's principal investigator. "It will determine the usefulness of vaccines that induce high immune response to the parts of the virus that are similar between different strains of HIV-1."

The study is known as a "test of concept" efficacy trial because it enables researchers to determine whether the test vaccine prevents HIV infection, results in lower HIV levels in those who become infected after vaccination, or both. In addition, investigators will determine if the vaccine has the potential to protect against the clade C virus, a subtype prevalent in South Africa.

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