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AIDS vaccine set for trials
Published on 2 Jul. 2009 12:50 AM IST
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The Canadian University of Western Ontario has developed a new HIV/AIDS vaccine that is ready for human trials. The vaccine called SAV001H has been developed by the university at London, about 160 km from here, in collaboration with Sumagen Canada, a subsidiary of the Korean pharmaceutical company. In a statement Tuesday, Sumagen Canada said it has submitted an application to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin the first phase of trials of the vaccine on human beings. Chil-Yong Kang, a professor at the university, said they have completed safety and immunogenicity studies of the vaccine on animals. Immunogenicity measures the ability of a drug or vaccine to provoke an immune response in the body. Trials of the new vaccine on animals have reportedly resulted in good anti-body reactions with no adverse effects. Numerous trials have been carried out by pharmaceutical companies to develop vaccines since the AIDS virus was recognized in 1983, but no commercialised vaccine has been developed so far. Sumagen Canada has secured patents for the vaccine in over 70 countries, including the US, the European Union and Korea. It said the phase one clinical trials of the vaccine will double check its safety on HIV positive volunteers. The phase two trials would assess the immunogenicity of the vaccine. Sumagen Canada said it is ready for clinical trials in the US as soon the FDA approval is granted. The University of Western Ontario and the city of London have been short-listed by the Canadian government to set up an $88 million HIV vaccine manufacturing facility, which will be partly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Just last week Canadian scientists had announced a major breakthrough in AIDS treatment by saying that they have found where the HIV virus hides in the human body. Currently, AIDS patients have to take a cocktail of up to five to six drugs to prolong their life up to 13 years. There are over 33 million HIV patients worldwide, with 2.7 million more getting infected each year.

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