GeoVax chief scientific officer invited to give lectureship at Texas A&M

GeoVax Labs, Inc., an Atlanta-based biotechnology company and vaccine developer, announced on Monday that its chief scientific officer recently presented a lectureship at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine.

Harriet Robinson presented the 20th annual Jesse D. Ibarra, Jr., MD Lectureship in International Health at Scott and White Healthcare and the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine on Friday. The presentation was part of the TAMHSC Grand Rounds lecture series. Robinson discussed the progress made toward an HIV vaccine.

"It was an honor and a privilege to be a presenter for Dr. Ibarra's Lectureship in International Health," Robinson said. "Dr. Ibarra is now 90 years old. In the 1950's, he led the campaign to vaccinate Texans for polio virus. Our goal, now, is to create a vaccine that can be used to eradicate HIV."

Robinson's lecture pointed out the importance to HIV development of the one partially successful efficacy trial, RV144. Robinson said the trial showed an HIV vaccine is possible and demonstrated that the binding but not neutralizing antibody was an unexpected correlate for reducing the risk of infection. She presented the hypothesis that protective binding antibody blocks infections by flagging HIV-infected cells and the HIV virus for recognition by the immune system.

During the lecture, Robinson also presented findings on antibody responses elicited during a Phase IIa trial of GeoVax's DNA/MVA vaccine. She also commented on the strong interest of the Scott and White Healthcare community in the development of a vaccine for HIV.

"I had always found the statistic that only 25 percent of infected persons in the United States are on successful drug therapy hard to believe," Robinson said. "But the reality of this statistic is what the infectious disease doctors at Scott and White struggle to turn around in their daily treatment of HIV-infected patients. Every person who is not identified for treatment, or who is not compliant in taking their medications, is transmitting the infection as well as slowly losing their immune system and progressing towards AIDS."