Sunday, December 29, 2002

Chimpanzees don't get AIDS from HIV. It is human immunodeficiency virus, after all. Others are skeptical as well.

WILL AIDS VACCINE WORK FOR HUMAN PRIMATES?

Anticipation grows for AIDS vaccine
Human trial ends; findings awaited
By Raja Mishra, Globe Staff, 12/23/2002

Scientists have finished the first human trial of an AIDS vaccine, a mammoth $200 million, 5,400-patient effort more than a decade in the making.

Within three months, the vaccine's maker, California-based VaxGen Inc., will reveal whether simple injections can protect against the world's most feared viral killer. Already, the Food and Drug Administration has granted the vaccine fast-track status that would speed it through the approval process, if it proves effective, for public availability....

''You don't know the outcome until nature gives you the message,'' he said, adding, ''I don't think that there's any doubt, from the chimp data, that the vaccine is effective.''

The vaccine first proved itself in primates. Chimps acquired complete immunity against a version of the virus that the vaccine was precisely tailored for. A second test found similar immunity against a mutated form of the virus; HIV has various genetic strains....