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First Vaccine Designed for Africa Cleared for Testing in Humans ,,

The first AIDS vaccine candidate designed specifically for Africa will enter human trials this summer.

The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) announced on July 11 at the 13th International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, that the Medicines Control Agency (MCA) of the United Kingdom has approved Phase I testing of a DNA vaccine based on HIV subtype A, the most common strain in Kenya and in many other parts of Africa.

Recruitment for the trial, involving 18 volunteers, will begin in Oxford in August, and, pending local approvals, another trial is expected to follow in Nairobi three to six months later.

McMichael, one of the world's leading researchers in cellular immunity, said: "We are excited to begin trials for this approach. Our research indicates that this vaccine has a very good chance of stimulating cellular immune responses to HIV. Research also suggests that white blood cells activated by the vaccine can destroy virus-infected cells. For HIV, this approach may be more effective than the traditional vaccine approach of stimulating antibodies."

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