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Two AIDS vaccine trials begin

GeoVax, a US-based biotechnology company, recently began enrolling volunteers for a Phase I trial to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of the company's AIDS vaccine candidates at four sites in the US.

The volunteers will receive two doses of a DNA vaccine candidate followed by two doses of a modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) candidate over two months. The vaccine candidates were developed by Harriet Robinson at Emory University's Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta and neither can cause HIV infection. The DNA candidate was tested in a previous safety trial in three US cities. GeoVax is also planning an additional trial with a higher dose of this vaccine candidate in the coming months.

A second trial began recently in Zambia to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of an AIDS vaccine candidate that uses an adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector to deliver pieces of HIV's genetic material to the immune system. This Phase II trial is the first AIDS vaccine trial to take place in the country and is being conducted by IAVI in collaboration with the Zambia Emory HIV Research Project.

The vaccine candidate, tgAAC09, was developed by US-based biotechnology company Targeted Genetics and was tested at a lower dose in Phase I trials in Belgium, Germany, and India. This Phase II study is a multi-center trial and volunteers are also being enrolled at sites in South Africa and Uganda.