Clinical Trials of First AIDS Vaccine to Begin in Kenya

Published December 19th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Kenyan authorities are this week expected to approve the clinical test of the first AIDS trial vaccine, developed by Kenyan and British scientists, sources close to the study said on Tuesday. 

The launch of the trials, based on the work of researchers who observed that some Kenyan prostitutes appeared to be immune to HIV, will take place at the medical college of the University of Nairobi on Wednesday, the sources told AFP. 

An agreement to share any royalties and a pact on joint ownership of the patent are expected to be signed during the launch ceremony. 

The patent will be jointly owned by the University of Nairobi, Britain's Medical Research Council and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. 

The vaccine is designed to be most effective against the sub-type A of the HIV virus, which is prevalent is eastern Africa. 

Any proceeds would be used to ensure cheap access to the vaccine to developing countries. 

The vaccine was developed after scientists at Oxford University's Medical Research Center and their University of Nairobi counterparts observed that some prostitutes in a Nairobi slum appeared to be immune to the HIV virus to which they had been repeatedly exposed. 

The researchers had found that among 3,000 women, 30 were resistant to HIV, the human-immunodeficiency virus, which is the precursor of AIDS (the acquired immune deficiency syndrome), and never contracted it. 

Another 60, although HIV-positive for at least 12 years, exhibited no symptoms of AIDS. 

The trial vaccine is based on the immune systems of the resistant women and the long-term HIV-positive survivors -- NAIROBI (AFP)  




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