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Scientists need more volunteers for vaccine

CHINESE scientists said yesterday they need to enroll more volunteers for a human test of the AIDS vaccine, as the research has moved into the second phase.

An inauguration ceremony of the second-phase research was launched yesterday in Nanning, capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, where the first group of 49 volunteers received the AIDS vaccine in May 2005.

"The recipients of the vaccine do not show any signs of adverse effects. Immune tests for the vaccine have also proved favorable results," said Professor Kong Wei, one of the team leaders of the program, at the event.

He said the first group of volunteers were aged between 18 and 50 when they received the vaccine. More than half of them were students from the Guangxi University of Medical Science, and others were government employees.

Dong Baiqing, head of the Guangxi Center of Disease Control and Prevention, which takes charge of the research, said researchers planned to enroll another 30 volunteers for the second-phase vaccine trial.

According to scientists, AIDS vaccine must undergo three phases of clinical trials before going into production. The first phase is focused on safety, the second phase on assessing both safety and the immunity rate of the vaccine, and the third on assessing the protection it offers for high-risk groups.

China's AIDS vaccine research started in 1996. The Ministry of Science and Technology announced the country's first phase AIDS vaccine passed clinical test in August 2006.

Figures from the Ministry of Health showed that by the end of 2008 China had reported 276,630 AIDS cases with 38,100 deaths.


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