Havana, March 7 (IANS) Cuba has unveiled a new AIDS vaccine which has successfully been tested on mice, and the country is ready to begin human testing soon, a media report said.
The Teravac-HIV-1 vaccine designed to fight AIDS is the result of cutting edge genetic engineering techniques, and has been presented to more than 600 scientists from 38 countries attending the 24th International Biotech Congress here, Juventud Rebelde Daily said Tuesday.
The vaccine will initially be tested on a very small and controlled group of AIDS patients in the primary stages of the disease, the newspaper quoted Enrique Iglesias, head of the biotech research team that designed the vaccine.
The vaccine was developed from a recombinant protein with virus-like particles which stimulate an immune response, he noted.
Iglesias said the testing of the vaccine on the patients represented a “clinical trial, so expectations should not go beyond that”, reported Xinhua.
The trials are to measure the safety of the vaccine, he said, adding that “developing a possible vaccine requires many years of laboratory research” before discovering something that can be tested on humans.
About 15,400 registered AIDS patients live in Cuba currently, making it one of the countries with the lowest rate of infection worldwide.
Cuban health officials said the government invests more than $200 million a year on prevention programs and medical care for AIDS patients.
Cuba markets more than 100 high-tech medical products in about 40 countries with revenues of about $200 million a year.
International experts rate Cuba’s biotech industry as the most advanced among developing nations.