RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) - A Brazilian research foundation announced Monday that scientists will test on monkeys a new vaccine against HIV/AIDS.
Trials of the new vaccine, developed by scientists from the Medicine Faculty at the University of Sao Paulo, will begin on monkeys at the end of the year and last around 24 months, the State of Sao Paulo Research Foundation said in a press release.
The trials will be carried out at the Butantan Institute, one of Brazil's main publicly-funded research centers, according to the press release.
The immune systems of monkeys are similar to those of humans. Monkeys are also known to be susceptible to the Simian Immunology Virus (SIV) which is believed to have crossed the species barrier into humans, resulting in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
Aimed at fighting the virus more efficiently, the vaccine contains an immunizing agent, HIVBr18, which was developed and patented by doctors at the university.
It will not remove the virus completely from the organism at current phase, but will be able to keep the viral load low enough to prevent an infected person from both immunodeficiency and virus transmission, according to the experts.
The research project, initiated in 2001 by three scientists, is based on studies of the immune systems of HIV carriers. Their immune systems succeeded in keeping the virus under control for longer than usual and it took longer for them to come down with the disease.