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[BEIJING] Leading Chinese and US research institutions last week agreed to collaborate on developing new treatments and vaccines against HIV/AIDS.

The US-based Institute of Human Virology and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) signed the agreement on 29 August.

Under the plan, the Institute of Human Virology will also train Chinese medical researchers and doctors at its laboratories in Baltimore and at research institutions in China.

Liu Yong, a researcher with CDC's National Center for AIDS/STD Control Prevention, says that while the Institute of Human Virology specialises in HIV protein vaccines, the Chinese researchers have focused on DNA vaccines and 'live vector-based' vaccines.

Thus, the institutions' HIV research strands were complementary, said Liu.

He added that the collaboration would give the Institute of Human Virology access to the strains of HIV responsible for epidemics in China's Sichuan and Xinjiang provinces.

Liu also said that under the framework, scientists from the two nations would be able to launch joint research programmes and apply for funds.

The agreement follows the two institutions' launch of a joint HIV research programme last October, when China sent medical researchers to the United States for training.

"Our ability to carry out clinical trials as part of our HIV research has improved to international standards," said Liu.

In a separate collaboration also announced in August, China will recruit senior health professionals from China and overseas to guide an anti-HIV/AIDS campaign in poor and remote areas.

China's Ministry of Health and the multinational drug company Merck Sharp and Dohme will fund the programme.