New UN Program Hopes to Begin Large-Scale Trials of AIDS Vaccines in 1996

January 1, 1995

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.

GENEVA, Switzerland--A newly established United Nations AIDS programbased in Geneva has announced plans to initiate large-scale clinicaltrials of two HIV vaccines as early as mid-1996, probably in Braziland Thailand. Dr. Peter Piot, chief of research at the World HealthOrganization'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 trialsin the two developing countries, Dr. Piot said. The UN group plansto conduct behavioral research and pilot studies in an effortto ensure that volunteers do not engage in risky behavior duringthe trial because they think the vaccine is protecting them.

Last October, a WHO advisory committee recommended that the organizationgo ahead with plans for large-scale HIV vaccine trials. Such trialswere rejected last June by a US panel.

With an estimated 17 million people infected worldwide, even avaccine with a low degree of efficacy would prove valuable instemming the epidemic, the WHO advisory committee argued.