Centenary of the UCT Faculty of Health Sciences

South African HIV-1 vaccine candidates – the journey from the bench to clinical trials

Anna-Lise Williamson, Ed Rybicki, Enid Shephard, Glenda Gray, Linda-Gail Bekker, Katrina Downing, Carolyn Williamson

Abstract


Around 2.5 million people become infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) each year. This extraordinary toll in human life and public health worldwide will only be reversed with effective prevention. Vaccination is regarded as the most effective way to prevent infectious disease. However, there are many challenges to overcome before a successful prophylactic HIV vaccine will be available.
We are participating in a global effort to develop and test candidate HIV vaccines. Two candidate prophylactic HIV vaccines that were designed and developed at the University of Cape Town (UCT) entered phase 1 clinical trials in the USA and South Africa in 2009, after a 9-year development period. In addition to the vaccines in clinical trial, there is a pipeline of candidate HIV-1 subtype C vaccines including virus-like particles, novel DNA vaccines, capripoxvirus and Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG)-vectored vaccines. This article describes the history of HIV vaccine research at UCT, and the partnerships that made the project possible.

Authors' affiliations

Anna-Lise Williamson, Division of Medical Virology, Department of Clinical Laboratory Science, and Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town; National Health Laboratory Service, Groote Schuur Hospital

Ed Rybicki, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town;

Enid Shephard, South African Medical Research Council (MRC), Tygerberg and Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town

Glenda Gray, Perinatal HIV Research Unit (PHRU), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Linda-Gail Bekker, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, UCT, and MRC, Tygerberg

Katrina Downing, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town;

Carolyn Williamson, Division of Medical Virology, Department of Clinical Laboratory Science, and Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town; National Health Laboratory Service, Groote Schuur Hospital

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Keywords

HIV, vaccines, modified vaccinia Ankara

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2012;102(6):452-455.

Article History

Date submitted: 2012-01-25
Date published: 2012-03-02

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