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A new clinical trial for HIV vaccinations will go into Phase 2 clinical trials this fall (2017). The HIV Vaccine (SAV001) developed at Western University will be tested in 600 HIV-negative people across North America sometime in Fall 2017. Once approved, the trial will determine the vaccine’s ability to produce anti-HIV antibodies in patients who are not infected with the virus. The results of the Phase 1 trial showed that the vaccine is both safe for use and effective in triggering an anti-HIV immune response in HIV-positive patients. The results also demonstrated that the vaccine was well tolerated with no serious adverse events.

Developed by Chil-Yong Kang and a research team at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, the vaccine was tested in 33 HIV-positive volunteers. The next phase will involve 300 volunteers from the general population groups considered high risk for HIV infection. The SAV001 vaccine is unique in that it uses a killed whole HIV-1, much like the killed whole virus used in vaccines for polio, hepatitis A, rabies, and the flu. The killed HIV-1 is genetically engineered so that it is less dangerous and can be produced in large quantities. The vaccine is the world’s first preventative HIV vaccine using genetically modified killed whole-virus to receive approval by the FDA to proceed to human clinical trials.

Once Phase 2 has been successfully completed, Phase 3 will be conducted world-wide with 6,000 subjects and will be the true test to show if the vaccine is effective in protecting people against HIV infection. If successful, this will be a huge boon to the world as HIV/AIDS has killed more than 41 million people worldwide, and 35 million people currently live with the infection.

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