University of Alabama to study effects of vaccine on patients with HIV
GeoVax Labs, a US biotechnology company that develops HIV/AIDS vaccines, has opened a second clinical trial site at the Alabama Vaccine Research Clinic (AVRC) of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) to expand the company's HIV therapeutic vaccine trial.
Although the GeoVax vaccines are currently being tested clinically for HIV prevention, this is the first clinical trial for treatment of people who already have HIV. UAB joins the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta (ARCA) as the second site used for this trial.
Sonya Heath, medical director for the study at UAB, said: ‘New approaches to HIV treatment are critically needed, and an effective therapeutic vaccine would be an important tool in our ongoing efforts to treat people with HIV infection. A vaccine that enhances the body's ability to control HIV and decreases the dependence on antiretroviral drugs would be a major breakthrough.’
To be eligible for the study, potential volunteers need to be diagnosed within the first year of HIV infection and they must have started antiretroviral drug therapy within six months of diagnosis. The study will last up to 77 weeks for each participant. Only 10 to 12 persons will be selected to participate.
The AVRC, established in 1994, is one of 10 National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored HIV Vaccine Trials Units in the US. It conducts Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III clinical trials of experimental HIV vaccines.