Cuba to begin testing AIDS vaccine on humans

Cuba says it is ready to begin human-testing of a vaccine against Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) after successfully testing it on mice.

The announcement was officially made by head of team which designed the vaccine at the Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, in Havana Cuba, Enrique Iglesias.

Iglesias was addressing the 24th International Biotech Congress held in Cuba earlier this week, at which 600 scientists were in attendance from over 38 countries.

The new vaccine candidate against AIDS was already successfully tested with mice and now we are preparing phase one of a very small and controlled clinical trial, with seropositive patients that do not have the advanced stages of the disease,” The Cuban Scientist said.

The vaccine called  Teravac-HIV-1 has been described as “the result of cutting edge genetic engineering techniques”, and will be initially be tested on a very small and controlled group of AIDS patients in the primary stages of the disease.

Iglesias told the Congress that the vaccine was developed from a recombinant protein with virus-like particles which stimulate an immune response adding that the tests are simply ‘clinical trials’ and as such “expectations should not go beyond that”.

He said the safety of the vaccine would be one of the critical areas  measured during the ‘clinical trials’.

About 15,400 registered AIDS patients live in Cuba currently, making it one of the countries with the lowest rate of infection worldwide.

Cuban health officials said the government invests more than 200 million U.S. dollars a year on prevention programs and medical care for AIDS patients.©


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