Chiron Begins Human Clinical Trials of Combination of Two HIV Vaccines
Emeryville, Calif.-based biotechnology company Chiron on Thursday announced that it will begin human clinical trials of its experimental HIV vaccine, Bloomberg News/Los Angeles Times reports. Chiron, working with the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, a research effort supported by NIH, will administer the two-part injectable vaccine to 168 HIV-negative participants in the United States to determine if the vaccine is safe and if it strengthens the immune system (Bloomberg News/Los Angeles Times, 1/16). The trial first will be conducted at sites in St. Louis, Seattle and Nashville, Tenn., and later will be expanded to other HVTN sites, according to a Chiron release (Chiron release, 1/15). Over two years, participants will receive an injection of a DNA vaccine, which is based on the theory that two proteins from the DNA will prime the immune system for possible HIV infection. Participants will next receive an injection of a protein -- not DNA -- that will serve as a "booster" to the first injection, according to the Contra Costa Times. If the trial proves the two-step injection vaccine effective, Chiron plans to conduct a larger trial that would include hundreds of volunteers. Jorge Flores, head of the vaccine branch of NIAID's Division of AIDS, said, "We'll learn something, and that will help in designing vaccine for the next round (of trials)" (Silber, Contra Costa Times, 1/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.