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NIAID teams with Wyeth on HIV/AIDS vaccine

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) today announced the latest contract award in its innovative HIV Vaccine Design and Development Teams (HVDDT) program, a public-private partnership mechanism aimed at accelerating HIV vaccine development. Wyeth Vaccines, a unit of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, will receive $22.8 million over the next 5 years to expand research on a vaccine candidate that has been shown to prevent an AIDS-like disease in monkeys. The candidate vaccine uses a modified livestock virus to ferry into the body two HIV genes whose proteins boost the bodys immunity to HIV. Researchers hope the vaccine will stimulate both parts of the immune system: antibodies to neutralize any free-floating HIV and specialized immune cells to kill any cells that HIV does manage to infect.

HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, May 18th, reminds us that the fight against AIDS requires the marriage of ideas and expertise from both the private and public sectors, says U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. This novel NIAID research program provides incentives for moving promising HIV/AIDS vaccines from the laboratory to human trials by fostering partnerships between academic research centers and private industry.

HIV/AIDS vaccine candidates must travel a long pipeline from idea to reality, says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. The HVDDT program focuses on products in the middle of the pipeline and will bring us nearer to our goal of a safe and effective vaccine against HIV.

The vaccine candidate had its origin in the Yale University laboratory of NIAID grantee John K. Rose, Ph.D. Dr. Rose and his colleagues created a genetically engineered form of a virus called vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), which can cause a mild disease in livestock. The engineered virus contains only two HIV genes-not the entire virus-so it cannot cause HIV infection or disease. Furthermore, the hybrid virus is deliberately weaken
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Contact: Anne A. Oplinger
aoplinger@niaid.nih.gov
301-402-1663
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
17-May-2002


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