University of Massachusetts To Begin Human Trials of HIV Vaccine
Researchers from the University of Massachusetts on Monday announced the start of human clinical trials of an experimental HIV vaccine that targets five different strains of the virus, the Boston Globe reports. The vaccine, which university researchers developed with Advanced BioScience Laboratories, contains genetic material from two strains of HIV found in the United States, two found in Africa and one found in Thailand. Animal tests of the vaccine demonstrated that it is effective at provoking an immune response, including the production of antibodies and "killer cells," according to the Globe. The researchers plan to administer three injections to 36 participants during a six-month period. In addition, the participants will receive two injections of proteins designed to boost the effectiveness of the vaccine. The trial is one of four HIV vaccine candidates that are entering clinical trials with $70 million of NIH funding. "One HIV [strain] wears a fur coat, the other is wearing a rawhide coat and the other is wearing a sweater," Dr. Jeff Kennedy, assistant professor of medicine at the university and lead researcher, said, adding, "We're going to inject people so their immune system can see the sweater, so they can see the fur coat, so they can see the rawhide coat" (Smith/Allen, Boston Globe, 3/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.