The HIV vaccine successfully being made and developed at Western by Chil-Yong Kang, SAV001-H, completed stage one of human clinical trials with flying colours. It showed no adverse effects in any patients and also displayed promising evidence for its efficacy.
“The phase one trial looked at the safety of the vaccine in humans. Our vaccine was totally safe — there were no adverse effects after administration during the one year of observation after vaccination,” Dr. Kang said.
In addition to proving safe for patients, the vaccine also boosted anti-HIV antibody activity.
“We vaccinated healthy HIV-positive people to look at adverse effects,” Kang explained. “These people have background levels of antibody in their bodies and when we vaccinated those people, the level of antibody was boosted tremendously, as high as 64-fold.”
These increased immune responses are promising for stages two and three of clinical trials, which will test the vaccine’s effectiveness.
On his Reddit Ask Me Anything chat last Friday, Kang said he estimated it would be another eight years before the vaccine would be ready.
He explained the vaccine must still progress through two more stages of human clinical trials to confirm it prevents HIV infection. He said stage three would be the longest, three to four years, because they have to vaccinate populations at risk for HIV infection and wait for natural exposure to occur.
Kang confirmed that the vaccine would not benefit those already infected with the virus. However, his team is also working on a therapeutic vaccine to help HIV positive people. This vaccine is currently being tested on animals, and has human clinical trials planned for the future.
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