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India's first AIDS vaccine trial begins

India began enrolling volunteers for the country's first preventive AIDS vaccine trial in February. The Phase I study will evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of a single shot vaccine candidate in 30 healthy men and women.

The vaccine candidate, called tgAAC09, uses a modified adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector to deliver a small part of HIV's genetic material into the body. The small fragments of HIV used in this vaccine candidate cannot cause infection. The AAV vaccine was developed by Phil Johnson, formerly at the Columbus Children's Research Institute and currently with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and is now licensed and manufactured by the US-based company Targeted Genetics.

The vaccine candidate is now being tested in a joint Phase I clinical trial in Germany, Belgium and India. The clinical trial is sponsored by IAVI and conducted at the National AIDS Research Institute in Pune, an affiliate of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The start of the study is an important scientific advancement in a country with the second largest number of people living with HIV in the world.

"With this first trial, Indian scientists are making an important contribution that will bring the world a step closer to an AIDS vaccine," said N.K. Ganguly, Director General of ICMR.

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All articles written by Kristen Jill Kresge