New vaccine 'could be final nail in HIV's coffin'
A new vaccine against HIV could be "the final nail in the coffin" for the disease, scientists say.
The South African study, called HVTN 702, aims to enroll 5,400 sexually active men and women aged between 18 and 35.
It will be the largest and most advanced HIV vaccine clinical trial to take place in South Africa, where more than 1,000 people a day are infected with HIV.
"If deployed alongside our current armoury of proven HIV prevention tools, a safe and effective vaccine could be the final nail in the coffin for HIV," said Anthony Fauci, director of the US government's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
"Even a moderately effective vaccine would significantly decrease the burden of HIV disease over time in countries and populations with high rates of HIV infection, such as South Africa," he said.
The vaccine being tested in HVTN 702 is based on a 2009 trial in Thailand, that was found to be 31.2pc effective at preventing HIV infection three years after the vaccination.
The new vaccine aims to provide greater and more sustained protection and has been adapted to the HIV subtype that predominates in southern Africa.