Phase two of HIV vaccine trial launched

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
By: 
Gabi Khumalo

GaRankuwa - The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has allocated an amount of about R22 million to launch Phase II of the HIV Vaccine Clinical Trial.

ISS T-003 is the acronym for phase II of the clinical trial to test a therapeutic vaccine based on the HIV-1 tat protein developed at the National Institute of Health of Italy (Istituto Superiore di Sanita/ISS).

The trial is set to test immunogenicity (whether it causes or induces an immune response) and safety of the vaccine in HIV infected persons already on ARV treatment and who have not developed antibodies against the HIV tat protein.

The study involves the recruitment of 200 participants between 18 and 45 years of age, and will take place in South Africa over a period of about a year.

The trial is part of a wider cooperation project between the government of Italy and South Africa to help support the Ministry of Health in South Africa in the implementation of a national programme of global response to HIV and Aids.

The study will be conducted by researchers and staff at the Medunsa Clinical Research Unit (MeCRU) of the University of Limpopo's Medunsa Campus in GaRankuwa, north of Pretoria.

Speaking during the launch of the clinical trial held at MecCRU, Italian Ambassador Elio Menzione said the objective of the programme is to reduce and control the spread of HIV in South Africa, noting that this will be achieved by giving technical assistance and development of human resources.

In South Africa, the trial will be conducted at MeCRU. The HIV Vaccine Research Unit (HVRU) of the Walter Sisulu University (WSU) in the Eastern Cape is also envisaged as an additional site once development of this site is completed. - BuaNews

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