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Volunteers sought for AIDS vaccine trial in Amsterdam

February 06, 2004

AMSTERDAM, 6 February 2004—The nonprofit International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) seeks adult men and women in the Amsterdam area to volunteer for an upcoming trial of a vaccine candidate designed to prevent HIV/AIDS.

IAVI is conducting the trial in partnership with the Amsterdam Municipal Health Service (GG&GD), Department of HIV and STD Research.

The trial began recruiting volunteers today and is expected to start testing the vaccine candidate, named HIVA.MVA, in March. Volunteers must be in good health and not infected with HIV.

HIVA.MVA is being studied as a preventive vaccine. This means it is intended to elicit immune responses that would prevent people from becoming infected with HIV and developing AIDS. The vaccine itself cannot cause HIV or AIDS.

IAVI is also testing HIVA.MVA in trials in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa.

“A preventive vaccine is the world’s best hope to stop the continuing spread of the epidemic, now infecting 14,000 people daily,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, MD, President and CEO of IAVI. “By testing this vaccine candidate in Amsterdam and at a number of other sites simultaneously, we hope to reduce the time needed to evaluate its potential.”

The trial in Amsterdam, which will last approximately 18 months, is a small trial that seeks to enroll roughly 20 volunteers. It will test the safety of HIVA.MVA and whether it elicits immune responses. If so, it can advance to more and larger trials.

Dr. Roel Coutinho, Principal Investigator of the trial at GG&GD, said: “GG&GD has previously been involved in testing other vaccines, so we are pleased to be working with IAVI. HIVA.MVA is a promising vaccine candidate.”

Men and women interested in volunteering should contact GG&GD at 020 555 5223 or www.gggd.amsterdam.nl.

AIDS Fonds, the Netherlands’ national AIDS advocacy organization, hailed the start of the trial: “We must aim to both prevent new HIV infections and treat those already infected. The ultimate way to stop the spread of the epidemic is to develop a safe and effective vaccine,” said Peter van Rooijen, Director of AIDS Fonds.

HIVA.MVA was designed by scientists at the University of Oxford, UK Medical Research Council and University of Nairobi. IAVI provides full financial support for the research and development of HIVA.MVA.

About IAVI
IAVI is a global nonprofit organization working to speed the search for a vaccine to prevent HIV infection and AIDS. Founded in 1996 and operational in 22 countries, IAVI and its network of scientific partnerships research and develop AIDS vaccine candidates. IAVI also advocates that a vaccine will be accessible to all without delay. IAVI’s major financial supporters include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the Rockefeller, Sloan and Starr foundations; the World Bank; BD (Becton, Dickinson & Co.); the European Commission; and the governments of Canada, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

About GG&GD Amsterdam
The Municipal Health Service of Amsterdam (www.gggd.amsterdam.nl) has in the 101 years of its existence, during constantly changing circumstances, in many ways contributed in bettering the city’s health conditions. The GG&GD covers a wide field of public health activities. Almost all residents of Amsterdam get to meet the GG&GD at least once in their life. Parents of young children regularly visit a child health centre, travelers to the tropics are administered necessary vaccines and he or she who is troubled by cockroaches calls in the pest control service.

About AIDS Fonds
Since 1985, the AIDS Fonds (www.aidsfonds.nl) has been working for a world without AIDS. The Fonds works for everyone living with or vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and its consequences. Advocacy and support of people with HIV/AIDS are two of its most important tasks. Most of its resources come from fundraising activities and are spent on scientific research, education and information, help and care, vaccine development and international projects.