Will there be a day when the world sees an end to HIV/AIDS? If so, it is most likely that a vaccine will be behind the end of HIV.
A vaccine, called SAV001, has been approved for phase 1 human clinical trials. The first phase of clinical trials will begin in January.
Since 1987 Dr. Chil-Yong Kang, a virologist at the University of Ontario, and his team, have been working this vaccine. Phase one human clinical trials have been designed to test the safety of the vaccine. If these first effots are successful the vaccine is a step closer to potentially saving millions of lives around the world by preventing HIV.
The cost for the vaccine thus far has been about 10 million dollars, if the vaccine moves beyond phase one and continues to full vaccine development, the total costs are expected to exceed 100 million dollars.
Testing of the vaccine will be done in the United States, where it is being produced.
Prior to FDA approval, SAV001 passed preliminary toxicology tests and was found to have no side effects in rats and monkeys.
The vaccine is similar to the vaccines used against polio and influenza as it uses dead HIV-1 virus that has been genetically engineered through chemicals and radiation so that it will not cause HIV infection in those that receive it.
In phase one testing 40 HIV-positive volunteers will be in injected with the vaccine to see if they have any side effects.
If the vaccine is found to be safe in phase one testing, there will be two additional phases before the vaccine can be considered effective and proceed into development.
Phase two will involve about 600 HIV-negative people that are also classified as being at ‘high risk’ for HIV. This phase will measure how the immune system of HIV-negative people responds to the vaccine and see whether their bodies make antibodies against the virus . Phase three will require 6000 HIV-negative people also considered to be at “high risk” for HIV. Half of the volunteers in phase three would be vaccinated, the other half would not. The phase three testing will determine how effective the vaccine is by comparing the vaccinate and non-vaccinated groups. Participants in phase three would be tracked for about three years to see how many become infected with HIV.
To date, about 28 million people worldwide have been killed by AIDS, with about 35 million being infected.
To hear more about the vaccine and the clinical trials check out this video for Dr. Kang: