May 17, 2004
An HIV vaccine would work like other immunizations by using dead or weakened doses of the virus to allow the body to build antibodies. "It may be [a] three or more shot [regimen], and it will control the virus, not prevent it," said Harriet Robinson, chief of the Emory Vaccine Center, one of dozens of facilities worldwide that are working on HIV vaccines. Across the nation, 30 volunteers are testing the safety of a vaccine created at Emory. If it proves safe and effective, the Emory vaccine would be on the market in five years, according to Robinson.
Even if a vaccine proves only 30-40 percent effective, as current estimates predict, it could still displace AIDS as the global leading cause of death for persons ages 15-59.
In Atlanta, the day will be marked with a showing of the film "Pandemic: Facing AIDS," which was produced by Rory Kennedy, the youngest daughter of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, and a panel discussion and reception. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Community Education and Outreach Partnership is funding the program, which is organized by SisterLove Inc., AID Atlanta and the Emory Vaccine Center's Hope Clinic. The event will be held at the LeFont Plaza Theater. Admission is free but reservations are required: Telephone 404-377-3719, ext. 15.