Duke researchers to test mosaic HIV vax candidate

Duke University researchers are assembling an international team to design the first human trial of a mosaic HIV vaccine candidate. Unlike traditional HIV vaccines that are designed to stimulate the immune system to recognize naturally occurring stretches of specific amino acids, mosaic vaccines are composed of many sets of synthetic, computer-generated sequences of proteins that can prompt the immune system to respond to a variety of strains. Such vaccines have shown success in animal studies, and trial will test the mosaic concept and could possibly lead to the next generation of HIV vaccine candidates.

Barton Haynes, who will lead the consortium, says the group will use the NYVAC vaccinia vector and DNA that contain a new set of artificial computer-designed HIV genes in a Phase I clinical trial that will be supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Haynes says the consortium hopes to launch human trials by late 2012.

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