Human Testing on Possible HIV Vaccine Starts in Jan.

By Neal Broverman

Originally published on Advocate.com December 20 2011 6:20 PM ET

A Canadian research team received a green light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday to begin human trials on a potential HIV vaccine, the National Post reports.

Dr. Chil-Yong Kang, virologist at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont., is leading the research team that will conduct the clinical trials. After the group’s potential vaccine showed no side effects on rats and monkeys, the FDA agreed to advance it to the first of three phases of human trials, which can begin next month. The FDA is involved because Kang’s team is working with a Korean pharmaceutical company with patents in the U.S.; the company likely hopes to market the vaccine, if successful, in America.

The possible vaccine, in the works since 1987, is actually a dead HIV virus infected into cells. “So we infect the cells with a virus and then the infected cells will produce lots of virus and we can collect them, purify them and then inactivate them,” Kang said in a video posted on the University of Western Ontario’s YouTube channel.

The first human trial will utilize 40 HIV-positive patients to test the safety of the possible cure. The human trial's second phase will include 600 HIV-negative people considered high-risk for catching the disease — the third phase bumps that number to 6,000. Watch Kang discuss the human trials below.