Cure in sight

Published: Wednesday 15 May 2002

aids may soon become curable. Scientists will put on trial in India, a potential AIDS vaccine made from a modified Vaccinia Ankara formulation. Incidentally, Vaccinia Ankara is a harmless version of a pox virus that was the basis for smallpox vaccines. When modified, it would act as the vector, or transport mechanism for the HIV DNA.

The vaccine, being refined at the National AIDS Research Institute, Pune, is expected to combat the most prevalent HIV-c strain found in India.

For developing the vaccine, the Union health ministry has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indian Council of Medical Research and the New York-based International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. Trials on actual AIDS patients are expected to start shortly.

To ensure that their consent is informed and voluntary, and there is transparency in the process of conducting trials, the government has formed an advisory board.

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