Scientists in Uganda Begin Tests on HIV/AIDS Vaccine Designed for East African Strain of the Disease
February 12, 2003
Doctors and scientists have begun testing an HIV/AIDS vaccine in Uganda that is specifically designed for a strain of the disease common in East Africa, a member of the project said.Adapted from:
The tests began Monday when two unidentified Ugandan volunteers were injected with one component of the two-part vaccine at the Uganda Virus Research Institute, said Dr. Ponsiano Kalebu, head of the government-run institute's team.
The vaccine has been developed by scientists from Britain's Medical Research Council and Kenya's University of Nairobi -- with backing from the New York-based International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. The scientists have been working on the project since November 1998, and much of the research is based on a group of Kenyan prostitutes who are apparently immune to HIV. Trials of the vaccine have been taking place in Britain and Kenya for more than two years.
The first component is a simple DNA vaccine that delivers the genetic information on HIV. The second component, known as MVA, is a vaccine that delivers the same genetic information but uses a weakened smallpox virus to carry it to the cells. The tests being carried out in Uganda involve the DNA vaccine, Kalebu said. There is no HIV in the injections.
"We [Uganda] have done all the preventive measures but people are still being infected everyday, so we need a long term solution and that lies in a vaccine for HIV," Kalebu said. "Uganda has been at the lead in promoting efforts to fight AIDS. We are proud to be in the forefront and we are pleased to be working with our counterparts in Kenya and the United Kingdom."
The trials will involve 50 Ugandan volunteers who are not infected with HIV and will last for two years. Six people have volunteered for the tests. Other vaccines target strains prevalent in Europe and North America.
02.12.03; Henry Wasswa
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.