WASHINGTON - NIAID Director Anthony Fauci announced on Friday that the government's principal AIDS research center will not start new, expanded trials of gp120 HIV vaccines for at least a year.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will wait until there is compelling evidence suggesting that the gp120 vaccines are likely to be highly effective, or until another promising vaccine is ready for trials. Fauci predicted it will take one to three years for viral vector vaccines to be ready for large-scale trials.

Fauci made the announcement immediately following a meeting of an NIH advisory committee. The joint meeting of the institute's AIDS subcommittee and the AIDS Research Advisory Committee (ARAB) voted to delay new gp120 trials until another vaccine candidate is ready for combined trials that could include gp120, or until additional evidence from the on-going Phase II gp120 trial is sufficiently compelling to warrant a large-scale trial.

CHIR, GNE views

Genentech Inc., which manufactures one of the two versions of gp120 used in the NIAID-sponsored Phase II trial, advocated proceeding with large-scale trials. The South San Francisco company proposed moving quickly into a three-arm study involving the two gp120 vaccines and a placebo arm.