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Group's Members Say They'll Risk Lives in AIDS Vaccine Tests

September 22, 1997|Associated Press

CHICAGO — A group of doctors and public-health advocates say AIDS research is so important that they are willing to risk their lives by being the first humans to be injected with a vaccine consisting of a live, weakened strain of HIV.

The International Assn. of Physicians in AIDS Care wants to conduct the test on about 50 volunteers. The group intends to talk to National Institutes of Health officials about the idea.

Gordon Nary, executive director of the group, said the risks are diminished by what can be learned.

AIDS vaccine development is a slow process because of the safety measures and animal testing before trials on humans.

"I'm not . . . suicidal," Nary said. "There are 1,000 HIV-infected babies born daily. If there is a risk of HIV infection [during vaccine trials], which I don't think is significant, it's overwhelmingly outbalanced by the fact that there isn't anyone who has worked with these babies who isn't going to do it."

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