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Trial vaccine against HIV begins in South Africa

New HIV Vaccine being tested in South Africa
New HIV Vaccine being tested in South Africa

MONROVIA, LIBERIA-A new vaccine against the virus that causes Aids (HIV) are being tested in South Africa.

Scientists say the test is the first large study of an HIV vaccine's effectiveness since 2009. The study, aims to enroll 5,400 sexually active young men and women.

About seven million people in South Africa are living with the virus, given reason why the trial is taking place there. Experts hope the vaccine will be "the final nail in the coffin" for HIV.

The vaccine regime, being tested, is based on one was used in a trial in Thailand in 2009 and it had a protection rate of about 30%.
Results from South Africa are expected in four years.

Since the HIV virus was identified in 1983, efforts to develop an effective vaccine have proved unsuccessful. Researchers hope that this might come to an end with the current study code-named, ‘HVTN 702.’

It is being led by South Africa's Glenda Gray, a University Research Professor and Head of South Africa's Medical Research Council.

"It will tell us whether the initial success observed, at a smaller scale, will bear fruit in the form of a safe and effective HIV vaccine designed for the people of southern Africa," Glenda Gray said.

According to the United Nations, more than 30 million people have died from Aids since the 1980s. Recent breakthroughs in anti-retroviral treatments have improved the lifespan of Aids patients.

However, the only effective prevention remains abstinence, or the use of barrier methods such as condoms during sexual intercourse.

As part of the present trial, the participants in the study will receive a total of five injections over one year, says the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) currently sponsoring the trial.

Participants, who become infected with HIV during the trial, will be referred to local medical providers for care and treatment, NIH adds.
They will be advised on how to reduce their risk of transmitting the virus.



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