Chinese HIV vaccine finishes safety testing

A new HIV/AIDS vaccine, developed by Chinese scientists, has completed its safety testing stage, the results of which will soon be submitted to the Chinese authorities, experts said during the 2014 National Conference on HIV/AIDS held in Beijing on Tuesday.

Shao Yiming, AIDS expert at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Global Times that the vaccine has finished preliminary safety testing, and the drug will now move on to tests of its effectiveness.

“We are currently analyzing the data from the safety tests, and the results will be sent to the China Food and Drug Administration before the team carries out effectiveness tests,” Shao said.

The vaccine will be tested until 2018 at least. The drug is planned to be a HIV/AIDS vaccine, but hopefully after further development it could be used to treat HIV/AIDS carriers, Shao said.

Between January and August this year, 70,000 new HIV/AIDS patients were identified in China and 14,000 deaths related to the disease were reported. The total number of people infected with HIV/AIDS in China at the end of 2013 was 810,000, according to information published by the National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention.

A key factor in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS is detecting the virus in patients as early as possible, said Wu Zunyou, director of the center, China Radio International (CRI) reported.

The number of people infected with the virus has been increasing in China, but the rate of detection of HIV/AIDS carriers has also increased, from 30 percent in 2007 to 54 percent in 2013. The detection rate is likely to reach 60 percent by the end of 2014, Wu said.

Worldwide, the average HIV/AIDS detection rate is between 30 to 50 percent, with the US having the highest detection rate of 75 percent, according to the CRI report.

Liu Shi (a pseudonym), 22, a HIV carrier who works for an NGO on improving public awareness of sexual health and sexuality issues, told the Global Times on Tuesday that he looks forward to new treatments for HIV/AIDS carriers emerging in the future.

“The current medicine, that we have to take every 24 hours, causes a lot of side effects, such as extreme drowsiness, vomiting and even kidney and liver failure,” Liu said.

One of the difficulties in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS was that the number of MSM (men who have sex with men) infected with HIV in China continues to grow, according to the National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention.

The center found that the percentage of MSM who are infected with HIV increased from 0.9 percent in 2003 to 7.3 percent in 2013.

“This is because condoms are still rarely used by them,” said Wang Ning, deputy director of the center.

Less than half of China’s MSM used condoms for six consecutive months between 2008 to 2013, according to the center.

by Qian Ruisha
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