Development and testing of AIDS vaccines

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Science  22 Jul 1988:
Vol. 241, Issue 4864, pp. 426-432
DOI: 10.1126/science.3293212


Recent advances in delineating the molecular biology of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) have led to innovative approaches to development of a vaccine for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). However, the lack of understanding of mechanisms of protective immunity against HIV-1, the magnitude of genetic variation of the virus, and the lack of effective animal models for HIV-1 infection and AIDS have impeded progress. The testing of AIDS vaccines also presents challenges. These include liability concerns over vaccine-related injuries; identification of suitable populations for phase 3 efficacy studies; balancing the ethical obligation to counsel research subjects to avoid high-risk behavior with the necessity to obtain vaccine efficacy data; and the effect of vaccine-induced seroconversion on the recruiting and welfare of trial volunteers. Several candidate AIDS vaccines are nevertheless currently under development, and some are undergoing phase 1 clinical trials. Rapid progress will depend on continued scientific advancement in conjunction with maximum use of resources, open information and reagent exchange, and a spirit of international collaboration.