After decades of wreaking havoc, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as we know it may be facing the final nail in the coffin.
After decades of wreaking havoc and tribulation, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as we know it may be facing the final nail in the coffin.
For the first time and in the most promising clinical vaccine trial, scientists in South Africa on Monday enrolled 5,400 sexually active men and women aged between 18 and 35 at 15 sites across South Africa in an effort to develop a vaccine that prevents the disease.
The study which is called HVTN 702, will be the largest and most advanced HIV vaccine clinical trial to take place in South Africa, which has the biggest and most high profile HIV epidemic in the world, with an estimated 7 million people living with HIV in 2015.
“If deployed alongside our current armory of proven HIV prevention tools, a safe and effective vaccine could be the final nail in the coffin for HIV,” Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. government’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said in a statement released ahead of the trial as quoted by Washington post.
This new vaccine being tested in HVTN 702 is an improvement of a vaccine developed in a 2009 trial in Thailand, The vaccine was only 31 percent effective and wore off over time, so it could not be approved for use in a general population.
Scientists were then able to study the vaccine results and reformulate the drug and bring it back for another clinical trial.
The new vaccine aims to provide greater and more sustained protection and has been adapted to the HIV subtype that predominates in southern Africa.
According to the National AIDS Control Council latest statistics, Kenya has an average HIV prevalence rate of 6% and with about 1.6 million people living with HIV infection, it is one of the six HIV ‘high burden’ countries in Africa.