Clinical trials indicate China's first AIDS vaccine is safe and possibly effective, government officials announced on Friday.
Forty-nine healthy people who received the injection showed no serious adverse reactions after 180 days, proving the vaccine was safe, said Zhang Wei, head of the pharmaceutical registration department of the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA).
The recipients appeared immune to the HIV-1 virus 15 days after the injection, indicating the vaccine worked well in stimulating the body's immunity, said Zhang.
The results mark the end of the first phase of the clinical trials of the AIDS vaccine, said Zhang at a press conference held jointly by the SFDA and the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The first phase was launched in Nanning, capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on March 12 last year. The volunteers, aged between 18 and 50, had received the vaccine by October 20.
They were divided into eight groups. Six groups received a single AIDS vaccine and two other groups were injected with a combined AIDS vaccine.
If the test enters the second phase, more volunteers will be recruited, especially from the high-risk groups, said Chen Jie, deputy head of the Regional Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The State Food and Drug Administration approved the first phase of clinical trials of the new AIDS vaccine in November 2004.
China has approximately 650,000 people living with HIV, including approximately 75,000 AIDS patients, according to official estimates.