Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
NIH Launches Phase II Trial of HIV Vaccine for Three Strains of Virus
NIH on Tuesday announced it has launched a Phase II clinical trial of an HIV vaccine that combines strains of the virus found in all regions of the world, the Wall Street Journal reports. Most other experimental vaccines have used strains of HIV from only one or two regions, making many judge the NIH trial as the "first attempt at a truly global AIDS vaccine," according to the Journal (Chase, Wall Street Journal, 10/11). "This is the first Phase II study of a vaccine candidate that is broadly relevant to the global AIDS pandemic," Gary Nabel, director of the Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center of NIH, said. The vaccine trial, known as HVTN 204, combines synthetically modified elements of four HIV genes found in subtypes A, B and C -- which represents 85% of the world's HIV cases. These subtypes are found primarily in Africa, the Americas, Europe and parts of Asia (NIH release, 10/11). Researchers aim to recruit 480 healthy, HIV-negative volunteers at 13 sites in the U.S., South America, the Caribbean and Africa. Each volunteer will be administered four injections of either a saltwater placebo or the vaccine. The U.S. military and overseas researchers are coordinating the trials with NIH (Wall Street Journal, 10/11).
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