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.