June 28, 2010
Atlanta researchers are preparing to test an HIV vaccine they believe can lower the viral load of HIV-positive individuals.
The trial, conducted under the auspices of the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta (ARCA), requires 10 to 12 volunteers who tested negative for HIV six months or less before a positive HIV test. In addition, volunteers must have initiated antiretroviral therapy within six months of diagnosis and seen a subsequent drop in their viral load.
The trial follows promising results of simian tests of the vaccine at Emory University's Yerkes National Primate Research Center.
The 77-week trial includes four vaccinations about eight weeks apart. Because of the testing requirements of the study, volunteers must live in or be willing to relocate to Atlanta.
The vaccine is produced by GeoVax, a Smyrna, Ga., company.
"One of the objectives of a trial like this is to ultimately wean people off their meds and let their immune system fight the virus on their own," said GeoVax CEO Dr. Bob McNally. "It's the meds that have the huge cost and over time some of them stop working, so it's really not a long-term solution," he said.
To be considered for the study, contact ARCA at 404-876-2317 or firstname.lastname@example.org.