Joint Kenyan/British HIV Vaccine Venture to Move Into Next Phase of Testing
An HIV vaccine being jointly tested in Kenya and the United Kingdom will move into the next phase of testing in the United Kingdom, Reuters/MSNBC.com reports. The two-dose vaccine, which uses DNA from HIV and a modified form of the smallpox vaccine, demonstrated "really good" results in preliminary testing in the United Kingdom and is ready to move into phase I/II trials there, Dr. Seth Berkeley, head of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, said yesterday. British volunteers in the new trial were immunized yesterday and, if the results in this larger pool are "as good" as the preliminary data suggests, IAVI, which is working in conjunction with the Kenya AIDS Vaccine Initiative and the British Medical Research Council, will "fast-track" the vaccine into phase III testing, Berkeley said, adding that the whole process should take about two-and-a-half years and will use 100 volunteers. No specific data from the early British study was released, but IAVI said that more than 50% of the 26 British volunteers who received the vaccine demonstrated a "strong immune response." Results from the preliminary Kenyan trial will not be available until this summer, Berkeley added (Fox, Reuters/MSNBC.com, 4/4). The Kenyan trials started several months later than the U.K. trials, partly because of disagreements between IAVI, the University of Nairobi and the British Medical Research Council over ownership and patent rights. The vaccine is designed specifically for HIV subtype A, the most common strain in Kenya and other countries in Africa, and is based on studies of sex workers in Nairobi who have a natural resistance to HIV infection (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/27/01).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.