Orlando Sentinel Examines HIV Vaccine Clinical Trial
The Orlando Sentinel on Friday profiled an HIV vaccine study being run by the Orlando Clinical Research Center. The privately run center, which tests drugs and vaccines, is conducting a Phase I clinical trial of a Merck vaccine that "veers from the traditional approach." Typically, vaccines use antibodies to bind to the surface of a virus to keep it from infecting a cell, effectively stopping an infection before it starts. With HIV, however, such an approach has been "miserably inept," the Sentinel reports. Merck's new approach is designed to boost the production of CD4+ T cells, which "attack and destroy" cells infected with HIV. The Sentinel reports that this type of vaccine is generating "a lot of attention," as six of the seven experimental HIV vaccine trials underway utilize the T cell method. However, scientists are still researching options to stimulate an antibody approach to HIV; many researchers believe that a combination of two vaccines -- one that uses the traditional antibody approach and another that uses the newer T cell approach -- will be needed to provide full protection against HIV transmission (Suriano, Orlando Sentinel, 11/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.