UPDATE: A Canadian HIV vaccine closer than ever

There could soon be an HIV vaccine manufacturing facility on Canadian soil.

Today, the University of Western Ontario announced it’s one of four Canadian organizations under consideration by the federal government to build such a facility, which would create clinical trial lots of vaccine candidates. In fact, UWO researcher Dr. Chil-Yong Kang has already developed an experimental vaccine, for use in toxicology tests and eventual human trials; but because no Canadian facilities existed, he did his work in the U.S. “Had a facility been available in Canada, the vaccine could have been produced here,” UWO says.

In 2007, the Canadian government collaborated with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative. One of CHVI’s priorities is to build a pilot-scale HIV vaccine manufacturing facility. This priority is shared by the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, which has identified a lack of appropriate facilities as a major roadblock towards efforts to create a vaccine. To that end, Canada will be spending $61.1 million, and the Gates Foundation $28 million, over five years.

Later today, Dr. Kang is expected to announce more details on his work. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: UWO has just released more information on Dr. Kang’s vaccine. From the press release:

“Kang’s vaccine uses a killed whole HIV-1, much like Jonas Salk’s killed whole polio virus vaccine. The HIV-1 is genetically engineered so that it is non-pathogenic and can be safely injected, and can be produced in large quantities, according to university officials.”

Sumagen Canada Inc, a subsidiary of Curocom of Korea, is fully funding Dr. Kang’s work on this vaccine.

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