Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
VaxGen Reports Better-Than-Expected Laboratory Results for AIDSVAX; Human Trials Still Ongoing
AIDSVAX, an experimental AIDS vaccine developed by VaxGen Inc., caused a "more robust" immune response in laboratory experiments than the company expected, Investor's Business Daily reports. "[E]ncouraging" results from lab experiments involving the vaccine, published last week in the journal Vaccine, indicated that AIDSVAX could "induc[e] patients' antibodies to fight common subtypes of HIV," as well as prompt the antibodies to recognize a type of HIV that is considered the "most difficult" against which to protect. "While we are encouraged by these results, (we are cautious) not to draw quick conclusions," UBS Warburg analyst Geoffrey Harris said, adding that "only the ongoing phase three [human] trials will give us answers to the efficacy of the vaccine, given the complexity of the science involved." Although VaxGen is in the later stages of testing the vaccine, it is still "too early" in the process to determine AIDSVAX's efficacy. VaxGen has said it "hopes" AIDSVAX will be more than 50% effective, although the FDA said a few years ago that it would approve an AIDS vaccine that is only 30% effective, Investor's Business Daily reports. VaxGen lost 49 cents per share in the third quarter of 2001, and analysts expect the company to continue to lose money until the vaccine receives FDA approval, which is still "a few years" away (Lau, Investor's Business Daily, 1/11).
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