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CAPE TOWN, South Africa — South Africa is launching clinical trials of the first AIDS vaccines created by a developing country, a feat by scientists who forged ahead even when some of their political leaders shocked the world with unscientific pronouncements about the disease. Trials to test the safety in humans of the vaccines begin this month on 36 healthy volunteers, Anthony Mbewu, president of South Africa's government-supported Medical Research Council, said in an interview Sunday. Mbewu's respected organization shepherded the project.
Mbewu said the vaccine was designed at the University of Cape Town with technical help from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, which also manufactured the vaccine.
South Africa was the site of the biggest setback to AIDS vaccine research, when the most promising vaccine ever, produced by Merck & Co. and tested in a study in South Africa in 2007, found that people who got the vaccine were more likely to contract HIV than those who did not.
In the 1990s, South Africa's then-President Thabo Mbeki denied the link between HIV and AIDS, and his health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, mistrusted conventional anti-AIDS drugs and made the country a laughing stock trying to promote beets and lemon as AIDS remedies.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A cold virus used to make an experimental HIV vaccine that was discontinued in September somehow may have caused volunteers to be more susceptible to the AIDS virus, the vaccine's developers said on Wednesday. Researchers were doubly dismayed when it appeared that those who had been vaccinated were more likely to become infected, and cautioned more than 3,000 volunteers who had been testing the vaccine that they may be at higher risk of infection.