New HIV Vaccine Set To Begin Phase I Clinical Trials in June
Phase I clinical trials of a new HIV vaccine are set to start in Switzerland and the United Kingdom in June, researchers announced on Tuesday, Reuters Health reports. The study, organized by the European Vaccine Effort Against HIV/AIDS, or EuroVac, will test the safety of the vaccine on about 160 healthy volunteers -- half at St. Mary's Hospital in London and half at the Lausanne University Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland. Researchers plan to test the first part of the vaccine -- DNA-C, which contains genetic information for particular proteins that are present on the HIV cell -- on 40 volunteers at each site. The remaining trial participants will receive the NYVAC part of the vaccine, which "boost[s]" the effect of the first vaccine. The researchers hope that the vaccine will be able to trigger participants' bodies to produce HIV antibodies that can fight off infection. The second phase of the vaccine trials, in which researchers will test the safety of DNA-C and NYVAC used in combination, is slated for 2004. The third phase of the trials, scheduled for 2005, will test the efficacy of the vaccines on hundreds of volunteers who are at high risk for HIV infection -- including men who have sex with men, injection drug users and sex workers -- in Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Germany and Sweden. The EuroVac program is a collaboration of more than 30 research teams in eight European countries, including Hans Wolf of the University of Regensburg in Germany, who developed the DNA-C vaccine, and French pharmaceutical company Aventis, which developed the NYVAC booster. If the combination vaccine is found to be effective, it will be administered to large segments of the populations of Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa, China and Russia, according to Reuters Health (Reuters Health, 4/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.