South Africa Scientists Announce Plans To Manufacture, Test Three New AIDS Vaccines
South African scientists at the University of Cape Town Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine announced yesterday plans to begin manufacturing and testing three new AIDS vaccines, the AP/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The vaccines, created from the most commonly found strain of HIV in Southern Africa, will be manufactured and tested in the United States and Britain. South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative Director Tim Tucker said that "small scale" human trials could begin as early as 2003 (AP/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9/27). The effort will receive almost $1.9 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and SAAVI will contribute almost $950,000, according to Tucker. He said that NIAID's financial contribution has "facilitated a significant improvement in the timelines for the manufacture and testing of these candidate vaccines." The UCT researchers, led by Anna-Lise Williamson and Carolyn Williamson, have also received funding from the South African government's Technology for Human Resources in Industry Program, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and the Poliomyelitis Research Foundation. Tucker said that the researchers "hop[e] that [the vaccines] will first prove safe and induce immune responses, and eventually show some protective properties in humans," adding, "We need to proceed as rapidly as possible to Phase I human clinical trials to test whether these and other promising candidate vaccines are safe and of potential clinical benefit in preventing HIV infection or disease" (South African Press Association, 9/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.