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Atlanta researchers develop potential breakthrough HIV vaccine

By David Schwartz
Published: May 22nd, 2013

In Atlanta, researchers at Emory University and GeoVax Labs Inc. have developed a vaccine that can protect nonhuman primates against multiple exposures to simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), the nonhuman primate version of HIV.

“The hope is that the results in the nonhuman primate models will translate into vaccine-induced prevention in humans,” says Harriet L. Robinson, PhD, chief scientific officer at GeoVax Labs, who has been co-leading the research team.

Rama Rao Amara, PhD, associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Emory, has led the project alongside Robinson. “It is impressive to note,” Amara comments, “that protection could be observed against both neutralization sensitive and neutralization resistant viruses.” In other words, the vaccine has proven effective against viruses that are responsive to antibodies, as well as those that resist.

The National Institutes of Health HIV Vaccine Trials Network has supported GeoVax in putting the vaccine through Phase 1 and 2a clinical trials, and it is helping GeoVax set the stage for the second-generation vaccine to move from its initial Phase 1 safety testing to a Phase 2b trial in humans who are at high risk of exposure to HIV.

GeoVax has licensed the IP for the vaccine from Emory. The university has an equity interest in GeoVax and is entitled to future royalties.

Source: Emory University

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