FDA Approves Human Trials For Experimental HIV Vaccine
For those of us who grew up in the 80s as the HIV/AIDS epidemic was just starting, this is the kind of news that you’d never thought you’d see:
Canadian researchers received approval Tuesday from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin testing an experimental and potentially breakthrough HIV vaccine on human subjects with the first phase of clinical trials scheduled for January, the National Post has reported.
The vaccine could be a milestone achievement in HIV prevention because it works similarly to existing vaccines for polio and the flu: by using whole samples of dead viruses to stimulate an immune response in recipients without causing them to contract the disease. The National Post has also reported that the vaccine has gone through preliminary toxicology tests without raising safety concerns.
“None of the researchers in the past have used this approach,” lead researcher Dr. Chil-Yong Kang, a virologist at the University of Western Ontario who has been working on the vaccine since 1987, said in an announcement.
These trials are likely to take years. They could end in failure, but hopefully they won’t. Nonetheless, along with the fact that men like Magic Johnson have shown us that HIV/AIDS can, if properly treated, be more of a chronic condition than a fatal disease, it is really fantastic news.