MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) _ Researchers will use a grant from a U.S. AIDs group to study a crippled strain of the AIDS virus in hopes of developing a vaccine for the fatal illness, officials said Friday.

Professor John Mills, head of Melbourne's Macfarlane Burnet Center for Medical Research, said the research on HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, will take an approach similar to the methods used to produce vaccines for measles and polio.

The center was awarded $415,500 for research by the nonprofit International AIDS Vaccine Initiative of New York.

Mills said the center will use the money to let five of its scientists spend three years researching the potential of the crippled strain of HIV, discovered in Australia in 1995.

``This is something which has worked in other contexts,'' Mills said. Polio and measles vaccines were developed from crippled strains of the main virus, strains that did not grow and did not cause full-blown symptoms.

The Macfarlane Burnet team will be looking to form the vaccine from HIV's genetic material, rather than from the whole virus.

Drugs have been found that appear to suppress HIV but researchers still don't know how to make a vaccine that will keep people from getting infected after being exposed to HIV.