Researchers at St Vincents Hospital in Sydney are trailing a new vaccine to prevent infection with HIV or alter the course of the disease once the infection has set in.
The trial in Sydney involves 3,000 volunteers who are deemed to be at risk for developing. AIDS. "We're looking to see if this vaccine can prevent HIV infection or at least alter the course of the disease once infection has occurred," said Dr Tony Kelleher, of the University of NSW. He said that the drug in question could potentially halt the infection, but cannot change the disease once it has affected a person.
"This vaccine is not being tested for therapy, and we don't want to give people false hope," he said. "The therapies for HIV have improved remarkably over the past decade, but the curative qualities of the tested drugs are not there, so that means HIV therapy for life at the moment."
He added that he was fairly confident of the drug's safety, "We have reasonably good data now that the vaccine is safe and that it produces the desired immune response," he said. "What we're trying to do now is to see if the drug is at all efficacious. In terms of a prevention, a vaccine is still many years away even if this candidate is successful, and it's probably the leading candidate of its kind."