New HIV vaccine trial hopes to improve on Thailand’s promising results

New HIV vaccine trial hopes to improve on Thailand’s promising results

A new international trial testing multiple vaccines administered together hopes to improve on the previous promising results of using combinations of antibodies.

The trial will test a new recipe of AIDS vaccines to determine what kind of boost to the immune system a double vaccination has in participants.


An American-backed trial in Thailand found in 2009 that a combination of two vaccine prototypes was 30% effective in preventing HIV infection.


The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is leading this new trial, soon to begin in London.


It is being run in conjunction with research centers in Kenya and the Rwandan capital Kigali.

In the UK capital, 64 volunteers aged between 18 and 50 are being recruited to take part in the first phase of this trial, which is expected to take up to two years.


Scientists hope the two vaccines given candidates given sequentially will induce longer lasting, broader and stronger immune responses.


Experts have spent seven years ensuring it is completely safe.


Dr Jill Gilmour, head of the Human Immunology Laboratory, based at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, is the leading investigator on the trial.


She told Channel 4 News the benefit of testing both vaccines at the same time, saying: ‘We need a vaccine that recognizes the multiple strains of the virus.’


‘But we also believe that if a rare number of people are able to develop an immune response that can control infection, which they do, then so can we.’


She is also optimistic that the AIDS virus can eventually be tackled with a vaccine.


Jason Warriner, clinical director at HIV charity the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: ‘This research is in its very earliest stages. Clinical trials take several years to complete and, even if the vaccine passes this first stage of tests, more research will be needed over the course of many years.


‘Although an HIV vaccine has so far remained stubbornly out of reach, we now understand how to prevent transmission better than ever before. A combination of widespread condom use, regular testing for HIV, and getting those with the virus onto the right treatment, could drastically reduce HIV within a generation.’


Everyday, 7,000 people across the world are infected with HIV.