The Epidemiology Research and Training Unit (ERTU) in the Ministry of Health has, to date, enrolled four persons for the HIV vaccine trial, according to Professor Peter Figueroa, principal investigator.
Jamaica is part of an international network of research centres on four continents and the Caribbean participating in the search for an effective vaccine to prevent HIV. The HIV Vaccine Trials was launched in Jamaica last November.
Professor Figueroa said there had been a number of calls to the Vaccine Trials Unit, with persons expressing their interest in volunteering for the trial.
According to Professor Figueroa, more than 50 persons volunteered and were pre-screened. Of that total, 18 were eligible for screening, including medical examination and blood tests.
Professor Figueroa said several persons had medical issues that needed to be addressed, noting that one woman was pregnant and therefore was not eligible and one defaulted.
Anyone who is healthy, HIV-negative and aged 18-50 years can participate in the trials. Interested persons are being asked to visit the ERTU at 55 Slipe Pen Road, Kingston, or call 922-4461/4873.