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New HIV Vaccine Being Tested In South Africa

Scientists say a new vaccine to help prevent the HIV infection could be “the final nail in the coffin” for the disease. Testing trials for the vaccine began in South Africa on Wednesday (November 23, 2016) and the results of the vaccination are expected in late 2020.

The study, called HVTN 702, aims to enroll 5,400 sexually active men and women between the ages of 18 and 35, at 15 sites across South Africa.

The vaccine being tested, HVTN 702, is based on a 2009 trial in Thailand. It was found to be 31.2 percent effective at preventing HIV infection over the 3.5 years of follow-up after the vaccination. The new vaccine aims to provide greater and more sustained protection and has been adapted to the HIV subtype that is predominant in southern Africa.

Volunteers for the study, funded by NIAID, are being randomly assigned to receive either the vaccine regimen or a placebo. All participants will receive five injections over a one-year period.

Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. government’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said,

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. Even a moderately effective vaccine would significantly decrease the burden of HIV disease over time in countries and populations with high rates of HIV infection, such as South Africa

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