A new HIV vaccine from the University of Western in Ontario, Canada has shown great promise. Dr. Chil-Yong Kang, professor of virology at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry says that, “These are very exciting results. It is, really, a major milestone.”
The new treatment takes a deactivated HIV-1 virus and uses it to activate the immune response in patients. The virus is inactivated through chemicals and by radiation therapy. In Phase 1, 18 people between the ages of 18-50 were vaccinated with the inactive virus, called SAV001-H. They were compared to 6 who were given a placebo.
The results from the first phase were, “After the vaccination, the level of [HIV-1] antibodies increased significantly. That means our vaccine is working to stimulate the immune responses.” Kang said. The only side effects were a sore arm at the vaccine site. The pain went away within a day.
Phase 2 will have the vaccine tested on 600 HIV-negative participants. Phase 3 will be tested on 6,000 HIV-negative participants. They will be followed for 3 years to see how many develop HIV after being vaccinated.
If the testing is successful, the vaccine will be available on the market within five years. It would be used to prevent a person from developing HIV and only useful if given before they are infected. High risk individuals will be given the vaccine. They include sex workers, injection drug users, hemophiliacs, and men who have sex with men.
Source: The Star