Slum Doctor Programme

HIV Vaccine Trial Canceled
July 22, 2008, 10:17 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Plans for a large human trial of a promising government-developed HIV vaccine were canceled July 17 because a top official said scientists realized that they did not know enough about how H.I.V. vaccines and the immune system interact.

The decision is a major setback in an effort to develop an H.I.V. vaccine that began 24 years ago. Health officials have long contended that such a vaccine would be their best weapon to control the AIDS pandemic.

The official who canceled the government trial, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it was becoming clearer that more fundamental research and animal testing would be needed before an H.I.V. vaccine was ever marketed.

Scientists say that developing a vaccine against H.I.V. is one of the most difficult scientific endeavors in history because of the uncanny nature of the virus.

Fauci reached his decision to cancel this trial after consulting with scientists about last year’s failed HIV vaccine trial. The Merck vaccine failed to prevent infections and may have even increased their risk of becoming infected. Scientists have found no obvious explanation for the failure of the Merck vaccine, which had been considered the most promising candidate.

“Show me that the vaccine works by lowering the amount of H.I.V. in the blood,” Dr. Fauci said. “Then we will move to a larger trial that will document the link with a particular immune response.” He added that until then, “doing a large trial is not justified.”

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More information about the Merck vaccine:


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