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HIV vaccine trial gets going in South Africa

Image: PATH global health [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

A landmark HIV vaccine clinical trial was launched in South Africa on 28 November. The trial will test a vaccine candidate similar to one that was partially successful in a Thai trial seven years ago.

The HVTN 702 trial will test the “only HIV vaccine candidate ever shown to provide some protection against the virus”, according to the US National Institutes of Health, one of the trial’s funders.

In Thailand the vaccine conferred a 60 per cent reduction in HIV infections, dropping to 31 per cent after three-and-a-half years. However, the vaccine candidate has been tweaked for the HVTN 702 trial to better respond to South Africa’s HIV epidemic.

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