NOVOSIBIRSK, October 14 (RIA Novosti) — Russia's State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR (Novosibirsk) is ready to start the second phase of clinical trials of its vaccine against HIV-AIDS if it gets the necessary financing, VECTOR's Director General Valery Mikheev told journalists on Tuesday.
"'KombiVITCHvak' is Russia's only AIDS vaccine, which has reached the second stage of clinical trials. Unfortunately, the financing for it is has not yet been approved, but there will shortly be a committee session on battling HIV-AIDS, so we are trying to get the additional financing to carry out clinical trials," Mikheev said.
He added that the second phase would mean testing the vaccine on humans. If the center gets the required financing, the trials could be completed in 1.5-2 years.
VECTOR's Deputy Director, Alexander Agafonov added that the sum required amounts to 200-300 million rubles (approximately $5-7.5 million).
The VECTOR Institute is a biological research center based in Koltsovo, in Russia's Novosibirsk Region.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is the end-stage result of HIV infection. By the time someone develops AIDS, the virus has significantly damaged the body's immune system. Thus, people with AIDS develop diseases that most healthy people can normally resist or control.
HIV is transmitted primarily via unprotected sexual intercourse, contaminated blood transfusions, hypodermic needles, and from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding.
At the end of 2013, 35 million people across the world were living with HIV, according to WHO data. That same year, 1.5 million died of AIDS-related causes.