Issues related to scientific, technical, population, and behavioral preparation in WHO-selected sites.
For the past three years, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been working with national authorities and scientists from the four countries which have been identified as appropriate for the establishment of WHO-sponsored sites for HIV vaccine evaluation: Brazil, Rwanda, Thailand, and Uganda. National plans for HIV vaccine development and evaluation have been prepared by the countries and endorsed by the WHO. The plans detail the national policy and nationally acceptable guidelines for the approval and initiation of HIV vaccine-related activities. They provide specific recommendations for the selection of participating institutions, for interactions with other national and international AIDS research programs, for infrastructure strengthening, and for training and specific research activities. In preparation for phase III vaccine efficacy trials, the following priority research areas have been identified: virologic, clinical, epidemiologic, and sociobehavioral research. Research in these areas is discussed. It is also important to develop a comprehensive public information strategy to help maintain community support and political commitment. Finally, trials must be conducted with only the highest ethical standards.