GeoVax to Study AIDS Vaccine on Humans

By Matthew Van Atta

Originally published on July 09 2008 11:00 PM ET

GeoVax Labs,
Inc., a biotechnology company that specializes in infectious
diseases, is seeking approval from the federal Food and Drug
Administration to test an AIDS vaccine on humans starting
this fall, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
reported on Tuesday. The trial of 225 people will be
conducted by the National Institutes of Health and
supported by the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, the
Atlanta-based company announced. The volunteers come from
the United States and South America.

GeoVax CEO and
President Robert McNally said that the company's goal is
to reduce the number of drugs people infected with HIV would
need to take control to control the spread and
development of AIDS. For a preliminary trial, a pair
of monkeys were infected with SIV, or Simian
Immunodeficiency Virus, and then given the conventional
antiretroviral drug therapy. Conventional therapy for
the animals was stopped after six weeks, and the
vaccine kept the viral load low.

"There was a 100
times reduction in the viral load on one animal and a
thousand times reduction in the second animal," he said in
the article. "You give these monkeys the virus, and
they start developing the symptoms. Those given our
vaccine, it slows down or reduces the viral load of
the infection. This is significant because it is suppressing
AIDS in monkeys. And that's what we are trying to do
in people." (The Advocate)