A new vaccine against Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is being tested in South Africa and experts hope it will be “the final nail in the coffin” for the disease.

5,400 sexually active young men and women will be studied over the course of the test period.

Scientists say it is the first large study of an HIV vaccine’s effectiveness since 2009.

The study, which is code-named HVTN 702, is based on one used in a trial in Thailand in 2009, which had a protection rate of about 30%

Glenda Gray, a South African university research professor and head of South Africa’s Medical Research Council, is heading the study.

“It will tell us whether the initial success observed [at a smaller scale] will bear fruit in the form of a safe and effective HIV vaccine designed for the people of southern Africa,” said Glenda Gray.

According to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is sponsoring the trial, participants will receive a total of five injections over one year.

Those infected with HIV during the trial will be referred to local medical providers – where they will be advised on how to reduce their risk of transmitting the virus.

Research sites throughout South Africa will launch the study on Wednesday , the eve of World Aids Day.


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