Thursday, November 13, 2008

AIDS vaccine developed in Ont. nears human trials

An experimental vaccine aimed at combating the HIV/AIDS virus has been developed by a researcher at the University of Western Ontario in London and is ready to be put through a key testing phase, the university announced Wednesday.

The vaccine, developed by virologist Dr. Chil-Yong Kang, will now go through toxicology tests to ensure it can safely be injected into humans.

Toxicology trials using animals will begin in a matter of days at a research facility in the United States with results expected in approximately three months, Kang said.

Phase 1 human clinical trials could begin in early spring.

Unlike other vaccines, which have used only a small amount of HIV's genetic material, Kang said his vaccine uses a whole dead HIV-1 virus, a technique Jonas Salk used in the polio vaccine.

"We have engineered a virus in such a way that it can be produced in larger quantities in shorter periods of time and it is also non-pathogenic. In other words, it doesn't cause the disease," Kang said. "We have tested animals and they do respond to the vaccine and we now have to try it in humans."

The vaccine will be tested in individuals who are HIV-positive, but don't yet have AIDS symptoms, Kang said....more

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