Two weeks ago, a local Tanzanian Newspaper reported (in KiSwahili) what seemed to implicate that 'Tanzania has found an HIV/AIDS vaccine" (personal translation). The reporting was seen as a little bit too much 'flavoured' hence raising concern whether the reporting was correct or misleading. Some of the blog readers commented here and a few members of some e-groups which I happen to be a member of, including two e-Health Personnel groups, questioned the validity of the article and eagerly demanded further explanation on it, perhaps, the full report. It has not been possible to get the report as the involved team of researchers plans on presenting it in Arusha and later to the 5th AIDS Vaccine 2009 Conference in Paris, France. However, I have learned a much more digested report from The EastAfrican newspaper, and as expected from many of you, there is still a long way until the vaccine is developed. Some parts of the article "Results of Tanzania HIV vaccine trials out soon" reads as follows:
- The study is known as the “HIV Vaccine Safety and Immunogenicity” and has been carried out since 2007.
- The vaccine has proven positive in terms of safety and ability to stimulate the immune system. All vaccine trials were completed in mid-July, and were positive by 100 per cent. By being positive, the candidate vaccines stimulated the immune system of those vaccinated and almost all who were given the vaccine responded to it.
- There was still a long way to go before a usable vaccine is developed. The big challenge now is to determine in the laboratory if the immune responses are able to kill or limit multiplication of live HIV.
- After the positive response from preliminary trials in Dar es Salaam, MUHAS and other International partners now focus on more clinical trials in Mbeya and Mozambique.
- Vaccine products namely HIV-1 DNA portions in a live non-multiplying pox virus boost was provided by the US Army, on agreement with Swedish partner institutions.
- Similar vaccines in Thailand, gave a protection of 31 per cent of 16,000 people given the vaccine.
In the early stages of the research, volunteers were first immunised with DNA candidate vaccination and later vaccinated with MVA boost, where two methods were employed, whereby 46 and 73 per cent of 52 and 48 volunteers respectively were immune responders, after the third HIV-DNA vaccination and HIV-MVA boost were administered. The results for the second method indicated that 23 of 59 volunteers were immune responders, after the third HIV/DNA/placebo vaccination and 34 of 50 volunteers had the same results, after the HIV-MVA/ placebo boost. The high immunogenicity of HIVIS 03 DNA-MVA vaccine is similarly consistent with the previous phase I study in Sweden.