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London Free Press: Western University-developed HIV vaccine ready for human trials

Western University, AIDS research, AIDS, HIV, Dr. Chil-Yong Kang, Elizabeth Banasikowska, World AIDS DayOn a day the world pauses to unite in the fight against HIV, it was a major development in London.

Western University scientists, using an approach others haven’t tried because of possible safety concerns, are moving closer to extensive human trials of a vaccine to fight HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

“If we can show that this vaccine is effective in preventing people from contracting HIV, we can stop the AIDS epidemic and that would be tremendous. It would be a tremendous contribution to humankind, and it would make all of our efforts worthwhile,” Western’s Chil-Yong Kang, who developed the vaccine with a team of London researchers, said in a statement Thursday, which was World Aids Day.

The SAV0001 vaccine uses killed-whole virus to trigger an immune response, the same approach used to develop other effective vaccines against diseases such a polio, the flu, rabies, and hepatitis A.

To deal with the possible safety issues of using the whole virus, the Western scientists genetically modified the virus to produce a less virulent one. In what’s called a Phase I trial, the inactivated virus was then tested for safety in a study involving 33 subjects.

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