The hunt for an HIV vaccine

Current HIV vaccine clinical trials

A Canadian HIV vaccine has made it through the first round of clinical testing, with the test participants showing no adverse effects, according to a press release.

Dr. Chil-Yong Yang and his team at Western University, Canada's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry developed the vaccine with the help of Sumagen Canada, a biotech company.

The success of the first round of trials is a promising development, though much more testing will be required. The vaccine (SAV001-H) is currently the only one in a clinical trial, and one of just a handful in the world.

The vaccine is made of a modified version of the HIV virus that has essentially been "killed" but is intended to attack and destroy any HIV-infected cells - working in a fashion similar to vaccines for polio and hepatitis A. SAV001-H was approved for human testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in February 2012. The participants in the trial were HIV-infected men and women between 18 and 50 years of age who were placed into two randomized treatment groups, with one receiving the vaccine and the other a placebo.

"We are now prepared to take the next steps towards Phase II and Phase III clinical trials, " said Sumagen CEO Jung-Gee Cho.

This is not the first time researchers have attempted to develop a vaccine for the deadly virus, which has killed 35 million people worldwide and infected another 34 million who are still living with the virus.

Previous attempts at developing a vaccine have failed or had low success rates. The National Institute of Health canceled the trial of another purported vaccine in April after the NIH determined the treatment could potentially make participants more susceptible to the virus.

With the most recent development in the trials for SAV001-H, researchers are hopeful for its potential success.

BMC Medical Research Methodology at the 35th Annual Conference of the ..  — BMC Pediatrics
The conference will focus on issues such as design and analysis of clinical trials, methods in biostatistics and development of clinical prediction models.

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