ABUJA, Nigeria-Research parasitologist Simon Agwale at the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute (UMBI), reported here today that he and colleagues have developed an experimental HIV-1 vaccine, tailored specifically to help fight AIDS in his native Nigeria.
According to the UNAIDS/World Health Organization, HIV infections have risen steeply in Nigeria in the past few years, posing a serious threat to the most populous country in Africa and where high costs make anti-HIV drugs largely unavailable to the general population.
Agwale reported that the research team at UMBI's Institute of Human Virology (IHV) has applied the latest IHV vaccine technology to build a "first generation Nigerian HIV-1 vaccine." The vaccine is made up of bits of the specific subtypes of HIV predominating Nigerian infections. He said the bits of HIV in the vaccine were identified by the first complete nationwide analysis of blood from HIV positive individuals in all 36 states of Nigeria, conducted in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Ga.
Agwale is currently a post-doctoral fellow the laboratory of David Hone, IHV associate professor. "I am in a position to help my nation with its growing AIDS problem. I have a lot of faith in this approach to developing a vaccine and now we have a plan to put it to use," said Agwale. The experimental Nigerian HIV-1 vaccine is now entering preclinical testing in laboratory animals. IHV has designed the vaccine to be taken orally, thus eliminating the need for maintaining sterile injection needles. Agwale announced the vaccine during a three-day National Workshop on HIV Vaccine Plan for Nigeria, sponsored by UNAIDS/WHO.
The candidate Nigerian HIV-1 vaccine is potentially applicable to all of Africa, said Agwale, because the IHV team has also included a piece of DNA from the C clade variation of HIV-1, which is rapidly becoming the predominant subtype of HIV-1 in many Afr
Contact: steve berberich
University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute