While an estimated 30 HIV vaccines are being tested around the world, one trial in Canada promises to be unique. After decades of research, development, and high hopes, scientists at the University of Western Ontario are ready to test a new type of vaccine known as SAV001 that they hope will prevent HIV infections.
What makes this trial different, said lead researcher Chil-Yong Kang, Ph.D., is that this is the first preventive vaccine to use a “killed whole” HIV-1 virus to activate a person’s immune system. This version of the virus, however, would be genetically altered so it would not be able to cause HIV infection. For insurance, the virus is also inactivated by using chemicals and radiation.