09 Aug 2012
Human trial of an HIV vaccine, being developed by AIIMS New Delhi, is likely to start as early as 2013, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) director general V M Katoch said here on Thursday.
"The vaccine showed encouraging results during animal trial stages. The toxicology has been done. I am hopeful, the clinical trial will begin by next year," Dr Katoch said during an informal interaction with reporters here. He was in city to attend a meeting of the ICMR tribal health research forum at Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) here.
A research team at the National HIV Reference Centre in AIIMS has developed the HIV-1 DNA vaccine. During animal trials in 1996, the vaccine gave immunity to mice and monkeys from HIV sub-type C, which constitute over 95 per cent of HIV infections in India. The vaccine research had faced problems in 2002 as activists staged protest against use of animals in the tests following which trials on monkeys were then shifted to IISc Bangalore.
After retirement of Dr Pradeep Seth, developer of the vaccine, from AIIMS earlier this year, the research had come to a stop. Dr Seth headed the microbiology department of the premier institute. "ICMR has revived the efforts and all clearance will be hopefully in place by this year," he said.
Dr Katoch said attempts were made in the country earlier also to develop HIV vaccines. However, two earlier vaccines for HIV were found to have limitations. The one developed by Dr Pradeep Seth in AIIMS is being regarded very promising and may bring paradigm shift in the HIV prevention strategy in future, he said.
Dr Katoch said vaccine making is not a priority of ICMR, which is being looked after by the department of biotechnology. However, ICMR is trying its best to facilitate development of certain vaccines such as the one for HIV, which has big relevance for India, he said.