The start of a clinical trial with an AIDS vaccine developed by French company Pasteur-Mérieux Connaught made front-page news in several major papers in September. The vaccine, composed of three HIV genes inserted into a canarypox vector, was administered to 420 human volunteers in a Phase II trial that tested the vaccine's safety and ability to provoke an immune response. Some researchers view the undertaking as one more trial of a technology that is unlikely to result in a useful compound. Others believe that HIV-vaccine candidates should be in Phase III trials, large-scale trials that test the efficacy of a drug. Yet not a single HIV-vaccine candidate has reached that point.
'GREAT NEED': Chiron's Margaret Liu does not share other scientists' concerns that the market for an HIV vaccine is unattractive to industry.