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Old Mar 23, 2004, 08:44 PM   #1
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UMass researchers to test AIDS vaccine

University of Massachusetts researchers yesterday announced that they will soon begin human testing of an AIDS vaccine that recognizes several of the virus's disguises, part of a new wave of experimental immunizations intended to outwit the worst infectious disease since the medieval plagues.

The human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS has frustrated vaccine researchers for years, largely because its outer coating changes so readily that it evades the body's defenses. The University of Massachusetts vaccine attempts to get around HIV's deceptiveness by targeting five strains of HIV at once.

"We underestimated the complexity of HIV,'' said Dr. Shan Lu, the UMass Medical School scientist chiefly responsible for developing the new vaccine. "If you don't even understand your enemy and yet you think you can defeat your enemy, that's naĆive.''

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