The Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, Rockefeller University, and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative on Monday announced that they have begun a human trial of a new investigational vaccine to prevent HIV infection. The trial is actively seeking healthy volunteers in New York City and Rochester, N.Y. The trial is designed to evaluate the safety of a new DNA vaccine called ADVAX. The vaccine is designed to stimulate immune responses to prevent people who are uninfected with HIV from contracting the virus, and the trial will gather preliminary data on whether ADVAX stimulates these immune responses. The vaccine is tailored for the C strain of HIV that accounts for the most HIV infections worldwide and is prevalent in China and other developing countries, where millions of people are being infected with HIV every year. ADVAX uses synthetic DNA based on a part of the genetic material found in HIV to stimulate the immune system into recognizing and destroying the virus should someone be exposed to it. The trial will enroll 45 HIV-negative volunteers, both men and women, over the next few months. ADARC and IAVI have agreed that if ADVAX proves effective, it will be made available in developing countries at reasonable prices. "A preventive vaccine is the world's best hope to stop the spread of the epidemic," said Seth Berkley, president and CEO of IAVI. "ADVAX is a promising approach that broadens the pipeline of AIDS vaccines in human trials."