Scientists are to carry out a human trial of a new vaccine based on a strain of a disease affecting horses in the southern hemisphere

Doctors in South Africa and America are to launch the first human trial of an Aids vaccine using a disease affecting horses, according to a recent report in the Independent newspaper.

It says the new vaccine was developed by an American biotech company, AlphaVax, in collaboration with a team of virologists from the University of Cape Town.

The vaccine is said to be a “unique blend of the subtype C variant, the most common strain of the Aids virus in southern Africa, and a disease which commonly affects horses, known as Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis (VEE)”.

VEE is endemic in South and North America, Trinidad and Mexico. Horses, mules and humans are susceptible to the illness, which is transmitted by mosquitoes.

According to the Independent’s report, a total of 4.7 million people are infected with the Aids virus in South Africa, more than any other country.

Phase one of the trail is due to begin next March.