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SA launches world's first HIV vaccine efficacy study in seven years

HIV negative South Africans from all over the country are taking part in this trial.

A panel pictured in Soshanguve, where the world’s first HIV vaccine efficacy study was presented on 30 November 2016. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Research sites around South Africa have officially launched a major study to test the efficiency of a vaccine to prevent HIV infection in the country.

It’s the world's first HIV vaccine efficacy study in seven years and officials say over 5,000 people have volunteered to take part.

The launch took place on Wednesday in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria.

HIV negative South Africans from all over the country are taking part in this trial.

They will each be vaccinated five times during the first 12 months and will then report for follow-ups with doctors for at least two years after that.

A 21-year-old woman from Soshanguve, only known as Jane, says she is excited to form part of the study as a volunteer.

“Because of the HIV rate in our country, I decided to join this drive so that I could be a part of the group who reduces the rate."

Doctor Mookho Malahleha, co-principal investigator of HIV Vaccine Trials Network, called HVTN 702, says she is also proud to be a part of this research.

“As a South African and researcher I'm proud to be a part of this."

The study is expected to establish whether an experimental vaccine regimen safely prevents HIV infections among South African adults.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)