Prominent AIDS researcher probed

November 04, 1992|By Liz Bowie | Liz Bowie,Staff Writer

A prominent AIDS researcher is being investigated for allegedly overstating the results of tests on an AIDS vaccine made by a Connecticut biotechnology company and now being tested at the University of Maryland.

The researcher, Lt. Col. Robert Redfield of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, was accused by colleagues of overstating the vaccine's effectiveness at an international conference in Amsterdam in July, according to an article in the Nov. 6 issue of the journal Science.

Dr. Redfield could not be reached for comment yesterday. Science reported that he has declined to answer questions until the Army has concluded its investigation.

However, the Army confirmed yesterday that it is looking into the allegations.

"We don't hold Dr. Redfield's data suspect in any way. What is being investigated is the interpretation of the data," said spokesman Rick Thomas. "The Army is very proud of our research on the AIDS vaccine. We want to make sure our research is accepted by the entire research community."

MicroGeneSys Inc., an independent, privately held biotechnology company in Meriden, Conn., makes the product. Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, a division of American Home Products Corp., holds the marketing rights.

"I have confidence we will see Dr. Redfield cleared of the allegations," said Franklin Volvovitz, chairman and president of MicroGeneSys, a company with 40 employees and no products yet on the market.

Dr. Redfield's work, he said, has been generally confirmed by other researchers.

The second phase of the clinical trials of the vaccine are being conducted at the University of Maryland's Medical Biotechnology Institute (MBI) as well as other centers across the country.

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