|Africa News Digest
HIV Vaccine Trial Underway in South Africa
A Phase II clinical trial of an HIV vaccine is underway in South Africa. The trial, which will follow 78 volunteers over 18 months, comes after Phase I trials in Belgium, Germany, and India established preliminary safety data. Phase II began in mid-November 2005, according to its sponsors, the New York-based International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and Targetted Genetics Corporation of Seattle, and will be extended to Zambia and Uganda if regulatory approval is received from their respective governments.
The vaccine candidate, tgAAC09, "consists of an artificially made copy of the HIV virus and cannot cause HIV infection," according to the IAVI press release of Nov. 14. It "uses a recombinant adeno-associated viral vector (rAAV)." The vaccine will be administered in a placebo-controlled, double-blind trial to healthy men and women to see if it elicits an antibody response and a cell-mediated response.
IAVA estimates that there are 30 preventive HIV vaccine candidates in human trials on six continents.
IAVI is funded by foundations including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation; several European governments, the EU, and the government of Canada; and the World Bank.
Rumsfeld To Visit Algeria To Enlist Aid in 'War on Terror'
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is to make an official visit to Algeria Feb. 12, to promote cooperation in the so-called "war on terrorism," according to the Algiers daily Echourouk El Yaoumi Jan. 31, quoting diplomatic sources. He will meet senior figures of the defense ministry and armed forces, according to ADN Chronos International.
A U.S. Presidential delegationled by Richard Lugar (R-Ind), chairman Senate Foreign Relations Committeevisited Algeria in August, and included Gen. James Jones, Commander of U.S. EUCOM and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. Jones returned to Algeria for a two-day visit in December. Algeria has recently been invited to take part in numerous joint maneuvers by U.S. EUCOM and NATO.
"The old project of the U.S. [since 2001 ed.] to confer on Algeria the status of pivot for Maghreb and sub-Saharan stability seems to have been reactivated by the White House," the Algiers daily El Watan wrote Dec. 19, apropos of Jones' December visit.