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Initial trial on China's AIDS vaccine yields 'good' results
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An AIDS vaccine developed by Chinese scientists has completed initial clinical trials with "good results." But researchers cautioned that further studies need to be done to verify its effectiveness.

Prof. Shao Yiming with China's National Center for Disease Control and Prevention said here Monday that the first part of the first phase of clinical trails on the vaccine had completed with "safe and good results."

"Based on these results, we can say that the vaccine is more effective than vaccines that are currently researched overseas," he said at a forum organized by the China Biotechnology Development Center.

No further details are currently available from the office of Shao, leader of the research team.

Shao said at the meeting that the second part of the first phase of clinical trials had started.

"But we can't be blindly optimistic at present because we need to see the results of the second and third phases," he said.

State Drug and Food Administration, China's drug watchdog, gave green-light to the clinical trial of the home-made vaccine one year ago. Early trials on mice and monkeys indicate the vaccine is safe and effective in stimulating the immunity of cells and body fluids.

According to Shao, the vaccine marks a new approach to fighting the virus. Using the smallpox vaccine as the carrier of the AIDS vaccine, the researchers tried to put the HIV virus gene into the smallpox vaccine and let it produce antibodies inside human bodies.

Different from other vaccines which had failed in previous tests, the new vaccine has a replicative vector, meaning it is designed to kill the HIV virus by replicating itself.

There is still no effective HIV/AIDS vaccine in the world and two vaccines that had completed the third phase of clinical trials also failed, Shao said.

The vaccine must undergo three phases of clinical trials before going into production. The first phase is focused on safety. The second phase will assess both safety and the immunity nature of the vaccine while the third will assess the protection it offers for high-risk groups.

(Xinhua News Agency December 2, 2008)

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