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May 1, 1981

Coccidioidomycosis vaccine trial planned with 3,000 volunteers

JAMA. 1981;245(17):1711-1716. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03310420003001

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A vaccine vaccine may be in sight for coccidioidomycosis, the so-called San Joaquin fever or valley fever expected to afflict as many as 85,000 US residents this year.

The killed vaccine, prepared from the spherical multinucleated cells of Coccidioides immitis in the spherule or parasitic stage (when endospores develop), is about to undergo a large-scale, double-blind clinical trial. According to its developer, Hillel Benjamin Levine, PhD, the vaccine does not prevent infection but minimizes fungal replication in the lungs and prevents systemic spread.

At least 3,000 unpaid volunteers will be recruited for the trial. Half will receive the vaccine in three 1.75-mg intramuscular injections one week and six weeks apart. The rest will be given a saline solution.

Some 500 volunteers already have been recruited from an endemic area around Bakersfield, Calif, between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Additional persons will be selected from the Tucson, Ariz, area this month,