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HIV Vaccine Experiment Ignites Press Interest: But Scientists Ask, 'Will It Work In Humans?'

On Jan. 14, the day before Science published an article on a formalin-fixed fused immunogen that induced neutralizing antibodies to HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins,1 Jack Nunberg's telephone rang endlessly. Nunberg, head of the Montana Biotechnology Center at University of Montana, Missoula, is senior author of the paper, coauthored by his former graduate student Rachel LaCasse (now at University of Alabama, Birmingham), colleagues at University of Montana, and two scientists at New York Universit

Myrna Watanabe

On Jan. 14, the day before Science published an article on a formalin-fixed fused immunogen that induced neutralizing antibodies to HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins,1 Jack Nunberg's telephone rang endlessly. Nunberg, head of the Montana Biotechnology Center at University of Montana, Missoula, is senior author of the paper, coauthored by his former graduate student Rachel LaCasse (now at University of Alabama, Birmingham), colleagues at University of Montana, and two scientists at New York University Medical Center. The press brouhaha points to the dearth of much other encouraging news on the HIV vaccine front. "I guess this just goes to show how desperate everybody is for anything that could be realistically construed as positive in the HIV vaccine field," notes HIV-vaccine researcher John Moore of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center in New York.

That's not to say that the work was not good. "There was no breakthrough technology involved and...

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