13 Oct 2008

South Africa Aids research gets massive cash boost

Aids vaccine research in South Africa has received a multimillion-dollar boost. Elevation Biotech, a Johannesburg biotechnology firm, has been awarded a one-year grant - part of a $30-million (R276-million) allocation by the International Aids Vaccine Initiative for research into an Aids vaccine.Most previous research has been focused on one of the 11 clades or subtypes of HIV and those found in the northern hemisphere, but in Southern Africa, India and China, clade C, or sub-type C, is predominant. The latest research project will be to find a vaccine that will be effective for all HIV sub-types.Elevation Biotech has already attracted considerable interest in Australia and the United States for its research into a third-stage antiretroviral drug (the current drugs being used in South Africa are referred to as stage two by scientists) and is doing some of the most pioneering HIV research in the world.

Grant Napier, the managing director of the company and a world-renowned Aids scientist, said he was delighted by the grant, though he would not disclose how much it was: "It is substantial funding that allows us to investigate a highly novel HIV vaccine concept with our locally developed technology over a one-year period. Without this funding that would not be possible."Napier praised the backing Aids researchers and scientists had continued to receive from Derek Hanekom, the deputy minister...............Full Story

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