screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-12-04-48-pmA new clinical trial is underway in South Africa on an experimental vaccine that could safely prevent HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

According to a statement from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the HVTN 702 is the largest and most advanced HIV vaccine clinical trial to be undertaken in South Africa, where some seven million people are living with the virus.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the NIH, Anthony S. Fauci said the new study is based on the one conducted in Thailand led by the U.S. Military HIV Research Program and the Thai Ministry of Health.

“The HVTN 702 vaccine regimen has been adapted to the HIV subtype that predominates in southern Africa, where the pandemic is most pervasive,” Fauci said in a statement.

The study is expected to enroll 5,400 sexually active men and women between 18 and 35 at 15 sites across South Africa where more than 1,000 people a day are infected with HIV.

If the vaccine proves to be 50 to 60 percent effective, drugmakers Sanofi Pasteur and GlaxoSmithKline to begin licensing negotiations with the South African government, Chicago Tribune reports.

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