Updated 19 May 2016

Large HIV vaccine study planned in South Africa this year

Scientists are planning a major study of an experimental HIV vaccine in South Africa later this year.


Scientists are planning a major study of an experimental HIV vaccine in South Africa later this year.

The shots are based on the only attempted HIV vaccine ever to show even marginal effectiveness, in Thailand in 2009. The US National Institutes of Health said Wednesday its study in South Africa will use shots modified for better protection.

Planned to begin in November, 5 400 adult volunteers would receive five injections over a year, either vaccine or dummy shots. Results are expected in 2020.

In the 2009 Thai study, a two-vaccine combination cut the risk of HIV infection by 31 percent over 3½ years, but it was more effective the first year. NIH said a small safety trial in South Africa found the new modified shots promising enough for expanded study.

Wider ARV availability

Earlier this month, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced that antiretroviral medicine would be made available to all HIV positive people irrespective of their CD4 count by September. An extra R1bn has been allocated to the health budget to make this programme possible, he said.

Read more: ARVs now for anyone with HIV - Mostoaledi


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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria in 2005. She is a patients' rights activist and loves using social media to teach about HIV. She is in private practice in Johannesburg.

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