A year ago, we reported on the push to discover an effective AIDS vaccine. As President Obama prepares to release his U.S. AIDS strategy, at least one pharmaceutical company is readying a crucial clinical trial of its vaccine against HIV/AIDS.
The AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta recently put out a call for volunteers to test a DNA-based AIDS vaccine developed by GeoVax. Participants must have had a negative HIV test followed by a positive test six months later, and must have started drugs to fight the virus within the past six months. A total of 10 to 12 patients will be enrolled in the Phase I study. Participants will be monitored for up to 77 weeks. Although GeoVax is already testing the vaccine for virus prevention, this will be the first study to test the vaccine in individuals who already have the virus.
Other updates: A lab devoted to developing an HIV/AIDS vaccine has opened in Brooklyn, New York. Researchers at SUNY Downstate’s Incubator will work with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, which has discovered two antibodies that are effective against multiple strains of HIV. The facility also has labs devoted to finding a cure for hepatitis C, developing a home blood test for cancer, and more.
Mymetics Corporation is currently testing the first human volunteers in a clinical trial of its preventive AIDS vaccine. The vaccine was well-tolerated by participants. The new study follows an animal trial in which the vaccine demonstrated the ability to prevent infection with the HIV virus. Participants in the human study will be followed for 12 months. The CDC estimates that 1.2 million people in the U.S. have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Do you think the U.S. pharmaceutical industry has made adequate progress over the past year in the search for an HIV/AIDS vaccine? What needs to happen next? Feel free to leave your feedback in comments.