GlaxoSmithKline to Launch Phase I Human Trials of HIV Vaccine
Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline announced yesterday that it will begin clinical trials of an HIV vaccine in the United States this year, Reuters/Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The vaccine is designed to prevent HIV infection and is composed of viral proteins and an adjuvant meant to enhance the effectiveness of the vaccine. Earlier trials on rhesus monkeys showed that the vaccine protected the animals from SHIV, a hybrid of HIV and simian immunodeficiency virus. The vaccine, the first that GSK has tested in humans, will aim to prevent infection with "at least" two of the most common strains of HIV, which are found in developed and developing countries. The vaccine contains "traces" of two proteins, Nef and Tat, that HIV needs to replicate, as well as the surface protein gp120. "This is the first time that Nef and Tat proteins have been stuffed into the same vaccine. It's a novel approach," Thomas Evans, a professor of medicine at the University of California-Davis, said. Intended to test primarily for safety, the Phase I trial will enroll 84 healthy, HIV-negative men and women and will take place at up to 11 clinical research centers in the United States (Reuters/Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/1). The trial is part of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, which was established by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in 1999 to "foster the development of HIV vaccines through testing" (GlaxoSmithKline release, 1/31).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.