A Canadian-developed vaccine to prevent HIV has been approved for testing in human clinical trials, the Toronto Star reports.
The vaccine, developed by researchers at the University of Western Ontario, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to start being tested in humans in January.
It is the first preventive HIV vaccine approved for clinical trials to use a whole HIV-1 virus, which has been both killed and genetically engineered, to activate immunity. In this way, the new vaccine is much like the killed whole virus vaccines that are successful against polio, rabies and influenza.
“FDA approval for human clinical trials is an extremely significant milestone for our vaccine, which has the potential to save the lives of millions of people around the world by preventing HIV infection,” said Dr. Chil-Yong Kang, professor of virology at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario, in a release.
Previous studies have shown the vaccine triggers a strong immune response and has yet to show any adverse effects or safety risks.