NEWARK — Rutgers New Jersey Medical School is playing a significant role in a worldwide effort to test the safety and effectiveness of a potential vaccine for HIV.

The school's Clinical Research Center is the only site in the state assisting in the Phase 3 trial, the first conducted in more than a decade. The study, known as Mosaico, hopes to enroll 50 to 100 people from the greater Newark area with the aim of determining whether a vaccine for a wide variety of HIV strains can be used by the general public.

"We estimate that any participant who will be enrolled in this study with us will be followed for approximately two-and-a-half years or so," Shobha Swaminathan, director of HIV programs, told New Jersey 101.5.

Swaminathan said participants will receive four doses of the potential vaccine over the course of a year. Research staff and nurses at the center will be administering the drug, or placebo, and perform follow-ups with participants afterwards. Swaminathan hopes to enroll the first participants within a month.

An estimated 5,000 new HIV transmissions occur around the world on a daily basis. More than 37,000 New Jersey residents are living with AIDS or HIV, according to the state health department.

The daily medicine regimen known as PrEP has proven to be effective in preventing new cases of HIV, but is not considered an ideal option for everyone, due to cost and the strict regimen involved.

"If this vaccination proves to be safe and effective at preventing new infections, participants would hopefully not have to take PrEP, which is a pill every day, to prevent new HIV infections," Swaminathan said.

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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.