WASHINGTON — WASHINGTON -- The National Institutes of Health announced yesterday that it was ready to begin tests of AIDS vaccines in people at high risk to get the disease.
The trials will take place at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Immunization in Baltimore, the St. Louis University School of Medicine, the University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center, Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, and the University of Washington in Seattle.
The experiment will be on a small scale, with two vaccines being given to 320 patients at the five sites.
"This is a small step forward, giving a vaccine for the first time to people who are at high risk for the disease, the kind of people who will ultimately be getting a vaccine against HIV," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the chief federal agency working on the vaccines.
There is little chance that the experiment will produce a clear answer about whether a vaccine works, because too few people are included. But it is a necessary first step to tests in which thousands of uninfected volunteers in several countries will get the vaccines.
The vaccines are are made by Genentech Inc. of California, and Biocine, a joint venture of Ciba-Geigy Corp. and Chiron Corp.