Two AIDS vaccine trials start in South Africa

In November a Catholic priest from Pretoria and a 32-year old mother of two from Soweto were the first volunteers immunized in South Africa’s first AIDS vaccine trials. One trial is co-sponsored by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, the other by the US HIV Vaccine Trials Network. Both trials are coordinated by the South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative (SAAVI). South Africa is the first African country to launch two AIDS vaccine trials of different candidates in the same month—a step that signals the country’s strong commitment to AIDS vaccine research.

The IAVI co-sponsored trial will test a candidate called HIVA.MVA in South Africa and Switzerland. The HVTN co-sponsored trial will test a candidate called AVX101 in South Africa and the United States. For more details on the vaccine candidates tested in these trials see the September 2003 issue of VAX.