SA has begun enrolling women in a clinical trial to test an experimental HIV vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which scientists hope will offer protection against multiple strains of the disease. Over the coming months 2,600 HIV-negative sexually active volunteers will receive the candidate vaccine or a placebo, and scientists will compare the infection rates between the two groups over three years. Twenty clinical trial sites will be located in SA, and others are planned for Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe pending regulatory approval, said the study’s co-chair, Kathy Mngadi, a senior scientist at the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in SA (Caprisa). It was important to test HIV vaccines in the communities most in need, she said, noting that 43% of the 1.8-million new HIV infections in 2016 took place in eastern and southern Africa, with women and girls disproportionately affected. The announcement of the trial has been timed...

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