Researchers at the University of Western Ontario recently completed Phase 1 human trials of a new preventative HIV vaccine, and the results give hope that they may be on track towards a commercially available vaccine that will protect against HIV.
The vaccine, called SAV001-H, was developed by Dr. Chil-Yong Kang and his team at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. So far, SAV001-H is unique in being the only preventative vaccine to use a genetically-modified version of the whole virus (similar to vaccines for polio, influenza and rabies, to name a few).
“We infect the cells with a genetically modified HIV-1,” Kang said in an interview with Ontario Business Report. “The infected cells produce lots of virus, which we collect, purify and inactivate so that the vaccine won’t cause AIDS in recipients, but will trigger immune responses.”
This will hopefully make the vaccine not only effective, but easy and cheap to produce.
Now, Phase 1 trials (which started in March of 2012) are specifically to test if the vaccine is safe, and to identify any side effects (if any). It’s not until Phases 2 and 3 that the actual effectiveness of the vaccine is truly put to the test. However, it seems that SAV001-H passed its Phase 1 trials with flying colours, since no adverse effects were reported in any of the patients that participated in the study.
With this success, it now opens the doors for Kang and his team to continue on with Phase 2 trials, where they’ll test the vaccine’s ability to produce an immune response and its overall effectiveness.