Researchers in Great Britain plan to test an experimental AIDS vaccine developed in the United States beginning this summer, and the tests will involve a few volunteers already infected with the disease, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
The vaccine, HPG-30, is made by Viral Technologies Inc. of Washington, D.C., from a string of 30 amino acids. Viral Technologies officials told the Times that the British tests would be the first human aids vaccine trial in Europe. Early tests of at least four other AIDS vaccines are in progress in the United States and in Zaire.British health oficials approved the experiments last week, Viral Technologies officials said.
The company applied for permission more than a year ago to test the HGP-30 vaccine among individuals in the United States who are not infected with the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Officials with the Food and Drug Administration told the newspaper that the application was under review and that they had asked for additional information.
Tests of the HGP-30 vaccine, which will involve 24 infected volunteers, are designed to determine the safety of the vaccine and to see what kind of immune reactions it stimulates, according to the Times. They are not intended to test the vaccine's effectiveness in preventing infection with the virus or, in already infected patients, suppressing it. The vaccine is believed to be safe because it contains no AIDS virus.
While vaccines are normally intended to prevent the establishment of a disease infection, some scientists speculate that AIDS vaccines might also offer protection for people already carrying the virus.