burdened with one of the world's major HIV/AIDS epidemics,
unveiled plans on Thursday for its biggest AIDS vaccine
government-backed South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative
(SAAVI) said the Phambili trial would be conducted on
3,000 HIV negative people age 18 to 35.
It will test
whether the MRKAd5 HIV-1 vaccine developed by drug firm
Merck & Co. prevents HIV infection or lowers HIV levels
in those who become infected, SAAVI said in a
It will also
measure the effectiveness of the drug on the C strain of HIV
prevalent in South Africa, whose population of 45 million
has an HIV infection rate of around one in nine.
The vaccine was
developed for the B strain and has undergone testing
elsewhere in Africa, the Americas, and Australia.
vaccine is one of the most promising currently available
internationally," said Professor Anthony MBewu, president of
the state-funded Medical Research Council.
conduct of this trial is a significant and exciting
step forward in our search for a successful vaccine against