NIAID Launches Phase I Clinical Trial of GenVec Vaccine To Induce Immune Response Against Various HIV Subtypes
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has launched a Phase I clinical trial of GenVec's AIDS vaccine, which is designed to induce an immune response against three HIV subtypes, the Wall Street Journal reports. The vaccine, which targets the three most common HIV subtypes worldwide -- clades A, B and C -- is designed both to prevent HIV from infecting cells and provoke special white blood cells called cytotoxic T lymphocytes to find and destroy cells that already have been infected. The vaccine does not contain any HIV particles and uses the adenovirus -- best known for causing the common cold and often used in vaccine and gene-therapy research -- to deliver genes from the different HIV subtypes, according to the Journal. Gary Nabel, head of NIAID's Vaccine Research Center, developed the technology behind the vaccine, and GenVec is manufacturing it under a $30 million NIAID contract that also covers production of a vaccine for severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. In the Phase I trial of the experimental AIDS vaccine, researchers will administer the vaccine in escalating doses to 36 HIV-negative U.S. volunteers, mostly from the Washington, D.C., area, to study possible side effects and immune response, according to C. Richter King, vice president of research at GenVec. Other vaccine researchers said it is "too early" to determine whether the vaccine might be effective, according to the Journal. NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said that earlier tests of the vaccine in monkeys showed that it failed to prevent infection but prevented progression of the disease from HIV to AIDS (Chase, Wall Street Journal, 7/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.