AIDS vaccine trial begins in US

Two biotechnology companies, Pharmexa-Epimmune and Bavarian Nordic, recently initiated a Phase I AIDS vaccine trial with funding from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). This trial started at the end of April and is being conducted by the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) at sites in three US cities-Nashville, Rochester, and San Francisco.

Investigators plan to enroll 108 volunteers to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of two vaccine candidates administered consecutively in a prime-boost combination. The first candidate, EP1233, is a DNA vaccine candidate developed at Pharmexa-Epimmune with funding from the US National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The second candidate was developed at Bavarian Nordic and uses a modified vaccinia Ankara viral vector to deliver HIV proteins matching those in the DNA candidate.