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Chinese-made AIDS Vaccine Approved for Clinical Test

Chinese authorities are making another push to develop a domestically made AIDS vaccine, and human testing is likely to be in place to prove its efficacy. 
This is the first time China approves clinical test on an AIDS vaccine.

Shao Yiming, chief scientist of the National Center for AIDS Prevention and Control says the move is sending positive message for global efforts in fighting against the pandemic.

"It shows that China is right up with the rest of the world in terms of research on AIDS vaccines."

In total, more than 100 drugs have been put into clinical trials worldwide, but, none have proved effective in curing the virus.

Faced with the rampant spread of the deadly killer, Chinese scientists started research into an AIDS vaccine in 1996.

They began with infecting a monkey with the AIDS virus, after injecting a complex vaccine into its body, and found no abnormal reactions.

Then, clinical tests of the vaccine aim to further assess its safety for use on humans.

90 percent of potential vaccines failed to pass to the second stage of clinical testing and the whole process of testing is expected to take at least 5 years.

Volunteers are being selected in southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, but concerns have been raised about their safety.

Professor Shao Yiming say volunteers are an important part of AIDS research, and their lives are fully respected in the testing process.

"Volunteers are an important part of scientific research. They contribute a lot to every progress in the medicine circle. Of course they have to take some risk in the human body test, but it's the responsibility of every nation's medicine watchdog to minimise the risk."

According to experts, finding an AIDS vaccine is the only solution to stopping the spread of the disease.

Currently, even the "cocktail treatment", the most effective measure to deal with AIDS so far, can only stabilize or ease the AIDS symptoms, but does not eradicate the virus.

And on the pursuit to find the remedies, Chinese scientists are taking another step forward, hopefully to find effective cures to make an AIDS-free world possible.

(CRI December 3, 2004)

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