Today, GeoVax Labs, Inc. announced that it has opened a second clinical trial site at the Alabama Vaccine Research Clinic (AVRC) of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) to expand the company’s HIV therapeutic vaccine trial. This trial marks the first clinical trial that uses the same products for treatment of persons who already have the HIV infection.

The study will last up to 77 weeks for each participant. To be eligible, volunteers need to be diagnosed within the first year of HIV infection and they must have started antiretroviral drug therapy within six months of diagnosis. Researchers will monitor the participants closely to assess vaccine safety and will watch for the ability of the vaccine to induce therapeutic immune responses.

Mark Newman, PhD, Vice President of Research and Development at GeoVax, commented, “We are very pleased to be expanding this important clinical trial to include the AVRC, a group with which we have worked successfully for several years.”

UAB joins the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta (ARCA) as the second site used for this trial. Sonya Heath, MD, the medical director for the study at UAB, said, “New approaches to HIV treatment are critically needed, and an effective therapeutic vaccine would be an important tool in our ongoing efforts to treat people with HIV infection. A vaccine that enhances the body’s ability to control HIV and decreases the dependence on antiretroviral drugs would be a major breakthrough.”