The U.S. Food and Drug Administration just gave permission to researchers at the University of Western Ontario to begin human trials for an experimental HIV vaccine in early 2012. During the trial, researchers will inoculate 40 relatively healthy HIV+ people with a genetically engineered, inert form of the HIV-1 virus. If the January trials prove safe, researchers will move onto Phase Two, where they’ll measure the immune responses in 600 high-risk (but HIV-) volunteers.
If all goes well there, Phase Three would involve vaccinating half of 6,000 HIV- volunteers and track their serostatus for three years.
If Phase Three goes as planned, then perhaps we’ll have a winner.
It’ll probably be at least 2015 before we know the effectiveness of this formula. But with 30 other versions currently in Phase One testing, a feasible HIV vaccine could very well be in the not-to-distant future.