AIDS vaccines demonstrate potential to protect against disease
GeoVax Labs, an Atlanta-based biotechnology company, today reported successful results from a preclinical trial using GeoVax's vaccines for the therapeutic treatment and prevention of Acquired Immunodeficiency Disease Syndrome ("AIDS") in non-human primates. The data demonstrate the effectiveness of GeoVax's DNA/MVA vaccines in controlling the Simian ("SIV") AIDS virus through immune responses raised by the vaccines. These promising results have resulted in preliminary plans to conduct human therapeutic studies utilizing GeoVax's vaccines.
In this trial, two monkeys were infected with the SIV AIDS virus and then placed on drug therapy. Thereafter, once early drug therapy had temporarily reduced virus levels, the monkeys were vaccinated with the SIV version of GeoVax's DNA/MVA vaccines. Six weeks after vaccination, drug treatment was discontinued. The SIV virus levels temporarily rose in the vaccinated individuals, but were later "controlled" (reduced to much lower levels) by immune responses raised by the vaccines.
The reduction of virus levels in the blood stream of these AIDS virus-infected non-human primates has continued for more than a year to date. Vaccination with the GeoVax DNA/MVA vaccines has curtailed the development of AIDS and its associated debilitating effects, resulting in healthy, asymptomatic individuals. The monkeys have gained weight and have not required any additional drug therapy.
"The results of this trial demonstrate the long-term promise of our vaccines in treating HIV-AIDS," said Don Hildebrand, CEO of GeoVax Labs. "Our preclinical trials, coupled with encouraging data from two ongoing human trials, help validate the science behind our vaccines and provide the impetus for accelerating the planning of Phase II human trials for our preventive vaccines."
The ability to vaccinate those already infected with the AIDS virus, thereby inhibiting the virus' progressive and debilitating effects, would allow individuals to fight off normal infections, live longer and maintain a more normal lifestyle. Such a vaccine, if approved for distribution, would be considerably more cost-effective and without the same side effects associated with current drug treatment programs.
The promising results from this trial have resulted in preliminary plans to conduct human therapeutic studies utilizing GeoVax's AIDS vaccines with the hope of extending the length and quality of life in people already infected with the AIDS virus.