An HIV vaccine based on a genetically modified killed whole virus is the first of its kind to succeed in a Phase I clinical trial, proving safe, well tolerated and promising in its ability to elicit a sustained immune response, the Huffington Post reports. The vaccine, called SAV001-H, is the result of a collaboration between Western University in London, Ontario, and Sumagen Canada Inc. In a randomized, observer-blinded, placebo-controlled study, the team examined the vaccine's safety, tolerability and immune responses in HIV-positive adults between the ages of 18 and 50.

The participants were divided into two groups: One received the vaccine, and the other a placebo. They recorded any adverse effects in a diary a week after the injection. After that, they were examined at the test site on weeks 4, 6, 12, 18, 26 and 52 after the vaccination. There was no evidence of serious adverse effects in the trial.

The vaccine showed promise in its ability to prompt the immune system. Researchers found that, following vaccination, the antibody against HIV's p24 capsid antigen increased by a factor as great as 64 and the antibody against the virus's gp120 surface antigen rose up to eightfold. These levels remained elevated throughout the yearlong study period.

“We are now prepared to take the next steps toward Phase II and Phase III clinical trials,” said Jung-Gee Cho, CEO of Sumagen. “We are opening the gate to pharmaceutical companies, government and charity organization [sic] for collaboration to be one step closer to the first commercialized HIV vaccine.”

To read the Huffington Post story, click here.

To read the Western University press release, click here.