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Straight, No Chaser In The News: HIV Vaccine Awareness and Update

By Jeffrey Sterling, MD August 8, 2020


The first (and at that point only) vaccine developed to date that has shown any significant effectiveness was demonstrated to be so in Thailand back in 2009. It was shown to cut the rate of HIV infection by 31% over 3.5 years, with most of the effect seen in its first year. This study was followed by a small-scale study in South Africa. The trial study involved 252 South Africans, and its positive results have set the stage for a much larger study, and it is generating a lot of excitement among the world’s top HIV vaccine scientists.


The U.S. National Institutes of Health is following up with a trial of an experimental vaccine in South Africa later this year on 5,400 healthy, at risk volunteers from ages 18-35, pending regulatory approval. The vaccine is a combination of a canarypox-based vaccine and another that enhances the body’s immune response to a vaccine. Results from the study will be available in 2020.
In case you’re wondering why the trial is occurring in South Africa, HIV is more pervasive in southern Africa that anywhere else in the world. According to the United Nations, it is estimated that 12.2 percent of the South African population (6.4 million persons) are HIV positive.


New HIV infections have fallen by 35% globally since 2000 but still ravages millions worldwide. The opportunity to offer an effective HIV would be welcomed everywhere.
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