November 30, 2011

AIDS vaccine may soon be reality

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

Johnson said he has discussed doing a human trial with federal regulators and is preparing an application for permission to go ahead. If all goes well, a preliminary experiment to test the safety of the approach might begin in about a year, he said. Baltimore said his group is also planning human experiments that he hopes will start in the next couple years.

Fauci, who is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned that mouse results don't always pan out in human studies. He also said both the gene approach and standard vaccines should be pursued because it's not clear which will work better.

"We're still in the discovery stage of both of them," he said.

Dr. Harris Goldstein, director of the Einstein-Montefiore Center for AIDS Research in New York, who has done similar research in mice, called Baltimore's result a significant advance if it works in humans because it shows a single injection produces high levels of antibodies for a long time.

It might lead not only to preventing infection, but also a treatment for infected people, he said. If it allowed people with HIV to stop or reduce their medications even for temporary periods, they could avoid the inconvenience and side effects of the drugs, he said.

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