ICMR to start testing of AIDS vaccine

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will start phase I clinical trials to test a combination of two AIDS vaccine candidates. The trials will be conducted at the National AIDS Research Institute (NARI) in Pune and the Tuberculosis Research Centre (TRC) in Chennai. The combination drug will combine two AIDS vaccines ADVAX and TBC-M4 in a prime-boost regimen, which essentially means the two vaccine candidates will get better response from the body’s immune system than giving either vaccine candidate alone. The trials will be conducted under the aegis of a memorandum of understanding between ICMR and the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) and the not-for-profit International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). There are about 50 lakh identified HIV patients in India, of which about 30 lakh are on treatment. V M Katoch, secretary in the Department of Health Research and director general ICMR said, “Our partnership with IAVI is helping us to achieve this aim by not only bringing new vaccines but also in capacity development and infrastructure strengthening.” The decision to initiate a prime-boost trial follows after phase I trials of TBC-M4 vaccine candidate showed promising results. This vaccine candidate was tested in a Phase I trial at the TRC in Chennai.


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