Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

HIV Photos May Bode Ill for Vaccine

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

HIV Photos May Bode Ill for Vaccine

Article excerpt

There is good news and bad news in the quest for an AIDS vaccine. The federal government has given the green light for wide-scale testing of a vaccine produced by VaxGen, a biotech firm in the San Francisco Bay area, but some researchers say the vaccine is probably based on faulty assumptions.

The trials for the vaccine, known as AIDSvax, will involve 5,000 volunteers at multiple sites around the country. The three-year study will determine how safe the vaccine is and whether it prompts an effective immune response. The vaccine does not use the virus itself but instead is based on a particular protein found on the surface of HIV. In theory that protein will produce antibodies that will attack the virus if it enters the body. The vaccine has undergone limited testing so far, producing an antibody response in 99% of those injected with it.

However, two weeks after the vaccine was given clearance, scientists using advanced technology managed for the first time to photograph HIV attacking a cell. …

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