The push to end the AIDS epidemic took a major step forward with researchers at Western University announcing they are ready to move to Phase II in a vaccine development.
The results of the Phase I trial were published earlier this week, and showed that the vaccine is both safe for use and effective in triggering an anti-HIV immune response in HIV-positive patients.
On Thursday, World AIDS Day, researchers announced that Phase II could begin as early as next fall and will allow them to determine the vaccine’s ability to produce anti-HIV antibodies in 600 patients across North America who are not infected.
Developed by Chil-Yong Kang, the vaccine is the world’s first preventative HIV vaccine to be approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration to make it to human clinical trials.
“If we can show that this vaccine is effective in preventing people from contracting HIV, we can stop the AIDS epidemic and that would be tremendous,” said Kang.
“It would be a tremendous contribution to humankind, and it would make all of our efforts worthwhile.”
Once Phase II has been successfully completed, Phase III 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.
The vaccine is being tested in partnership with Sumagen Canada, the Canadian branch of a Korean pharmaceutical venture company. Sumagen Co. Ltd. has been producing the vaccine for trials and holds the patent for mass production and distribution.
HIV/AIDS has killed more than 41 million people worldwide, and more than 35 million people currently live with the infection.