San Francisco Chronicle Profiles HIV Vaccine Maker VaxGen
The San Francisco Chronicle yesterday profiled Brisbane, Calif.-based biotech firm VaxGen, which will finish two clinical trials on the first HIV vaccine before the end of the year. VaxGen, which will finish one clinical trial in the United States on men who have sex with men and one in Thailand on injection drug users, has worked since 1995 to develop vaccines against the subtypes of HIV most common in Asia, North America and Europe. The firm recruited 7,900 volunteers whose "risky behaviors" make them susceptible to contracting HIV and each participant was inoculated with either a placebo or the vaccine. At the end of the year, the company will examine the data and compare the rates of infection in the vaccinated and placebo groups. The company will take three weeks to three months to finish its calculations early next year, the Chronicle reports. While it is "unlikely" that the vaccine will be either 100% effective or ineffective, the results of the vaccine's clinical trials will be "one of the biggest health stories" in 2003, according to the Chronicle (Abate, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/9).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.