South Africa's government joined Monday in launching a high-profile trial of an AIDS vaccine created by its own researchers -- the first designed by a developing country -- but the moment was marred by the lead researcher's announcement it has actually halted funding its own project.
It was a jarring development in a nation whose politicians have a history of unscientific responses to the epidemic. Attempts to get an explanation from the government were not immediately successful.
Monday's announcement was meant to be a proud occasion for a nation where politicians have a history of unscientific responses to the epidemic. But after a government minister lauded the project, Professor Anna-Lise Williamson, the scientist heading the research, said the state had pulled the plug on its funding.