5,000 SOUTH AFRICANS VOLUNTEER TO TEST NEW VACCINE TO PREVENT HIV

More than 5,000 South African volunteers are taking part in a ground-breaking trial to test the effectiveness of a new vaccine to prevent HIV.

This preventative trial of the new vaccine, HVTN 702, is the only one of its kind in the world and is only being conducted in South Africa. Beginning Wednesday, volunteers were being administered their first injections at different venues across the country.

These include the Medical Research Council's HIV Prevention Research Unit at Verulam, north of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal Province, and the Emavundleni Clinical Research Centre at New Crossroads on the Cape Flats in Cape Town.

The Protocol Co-chair for the HVTN 702 study, Dr Linda-Gail Bekker, told the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Wednesday: "A preventative HIV vaccine is really the holy grail of prevention for HIV.

"We know that we won't get complete control or even eradication of the HIV epidemic unless we have a vaccine that can protect people and make sure they don't become infected.

"We're very optimistic that we're going to be able to push that vaccine efficacy up to a range where regulators will be very interested to license (it), and if we can license a vaccine we really do begin to see a game-changer in the HIV epidemic."

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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