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Uganda Begins Phase 3 Trial of HIV Vaccine in Masaka

Uganda Begins Phase 3 Trial of HIV Vaccine in Masaka
Photo Credit: Getty Image

Uganda has started an efficient trial of an HIV vaccine for the purpose of testing if it can prevent HIV infection.

The vaccine known as PrepVacc is in phase 3 trial using the combination of two drugs meant to test two ways of preventing HIV in the human body.

According to the Uganda virus research institute, which is leading the trials, the process started on Tuesday at their site in Masaka district Uganda.

Scientists used genetic sequencing to discover that the vaccine used in the RV144 HIV vaccine trial involving 16000 men and women in Thailand did offer some protection against certain HIV viruses.

The results were published September 10 in the online edition of nature.

James Mullins, UW professor of microbiology, medicine, and laboratory medicine leads one of the two laboratories that did genetic analyses of the virus.

He said the study proved that an HIV vaccine is within reach.

According to Mullins, the study showed that the vaccine possible however in order to be generally useful, we need to enhance its potency over that achieved in the trial.

As reported in 2009, vaccination with the RV144 regimen (ALAC-HIV and AIDSVAX B/E GP 120) demonstrated 31% vaccine efficiency at preventing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) infection over three and one-half years.

Genetic sequencing allowed the scientists to demonstrate that the vaccine blocked certain strains of HIV from infecting trial participants.

The new study reports that for viruses carrying two particular genetic signatures in the coat protein including the region protective immune responses were found to target the vaccine efficacy increased to 78%.

If the third trial is successful, it would have brought a new chapter in medicine discoveries and the human race would have been saved from yet another dangerous virus that has killed millions around the world.

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Yosam Mukundane Is a political and socio-economic policy analyst at Forsige and a reporter covering Africa and Asia from Uganda.

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