Russia tests HIV vaccine

Russia tests HIV vaccineMoscow, Feb 6 - Russia has successfully completed the first stage of clinical trials of an HIV vaccine, an official said Monday.

The State Research Centre for Virology and Biotechnology, Vektor, completed the first stage of clinical trials of the HIV vaccine, Vektor director Alexander Sergeyev said Monday.

The vaccine induces a strong antibody (antigen), as well as cellular response, he said. The vaccine is now to be approved for the second stage of tests, reported RIA Novosti.

Vektor previously said it had developed one of the strongest and most advanced vaccines in the world.

As of Nov 1, Russia had 636,979 confirmed cases of HIV infection since record keeping began in 1987. The number has almost doubled since 2006. A total of 104,257 HIV patients have already died.

HIV infects cells of the immune system and destroys or impairs their function. Infection results in the progressive deterioration of the immune system, breaking down the body's ability to fend off infections and diseases.

According to the World Health Organization's 2011 World Health Statistics report, the number of people living with HIV worldwide continues to grow, reaching an estimated
33.3 million people in 2009, with 2.6 million new infections and 1.8 million HIV/AIDS-related deaths recorded in the reporting period.

HIV/AIDS remains one of the world's most significant public health challenges, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Approximately 10 million people worldwide are in need of anti-retroviral therapy but have no access to the treatment.(IANS)