BETHESDA, Md--The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious
Diseases (NIAID) will collaborate with VaxGen, Inc. (South San
Francisco), in research projects to expand the scientific range of
the phase III trial of VaxGens AIDSVAX vaccine. The Institute
will also provide the company with expertise in certain areas of immunology.
The 3-year US trial of the vaccine, with 5,000 volunteers, began in
June to determine whether the vaccine will prevent HIV infection or
modify the course of the disease.
NIAID will sponsor the collection of samples from the volunteers,
including samples from infected vaccinees. The evaluations will
determine the ability of the vaccine to induce different components
of the immune response, NIAID said. If the vaccine proves to have
protective properties, NIAID would then look at "which
components of immunity correlated with protection."
Other areas of cooperation between NIAID and VaxGen will include use
of AIDSVAX in combination with other vaccines under current study by
NIAID. The Institute also anticipates joint research on formulations
of AIDSVAX for viruses prevalent in developing nations.