GENEVA, Switzerland--A newly established United Nations AIDS program
based in Geneva has announced plans to initiate large-scale clinical
trials of two HIV vaccines as early as mid-1996, probably in Brazil
and Thailand. Dr. Peter Piot, chief of research at the World Health
Organization's Global Program on AIDS, will head the new group,
which will involve six UN agencies.
From 3,000 to 20,000 volunteers will participate in the trials
in the two developing countries, Dr. Piot said. The UN group plans
to conduct behavioral research and pilot studies in an effort
to ensure that volunteers do not engage in risky behavior during
the trial because they think the vaccine is protecting them.
Last October, a WHO advisory committee recommended that the organization
go ahead with plans for large-scale HIV vaccine trials. Such trials
were rejected last June by a US panel.
With an estimated 17 million people infected worldwide, even a
vaccine with a low degree of efficacy would prove valuable in
stemming the epidemic, the WHO advisory committee argued.