April 22, 2002
India's National AIDS Control Organization chief, J.V.R. Prasada Rao, announced last Tuesday that the first phase of clinical trials for an AIDS vaccine developed specifically for Indians could start in New Delhi in late 2003. Rao said India had entered into key partnerships and was on a "path to developing a low-cost and effective" India-specific AIDS vaccine.
"The Indian vaccine will counter the strain of HIV sub-type C that is prevalent typically in India," said Rao. "Developed countries like the United States are putting their resources into developing their own vaccines to combat the virus sub-type A found commonly in their population. So we have to do everything in our power to win the race against time to come up with our own indigenous anti-AIDS vaccine," Rao said.
India announced in March that it had 3.97 million HIV-positive cases, the largest HIV-positive population after South Africa. Unofficial estimates put the figure closer to five million.
Agence France Presse