HIV trial vaccine cuts infection29th September 2009
In the biggest trial of its kind, an HIV vaccine has cut people's risk of being infected with the virus.
The vaccine was administered to 16,402 Thai people in the seaside provinces of Rayong and Chonburi, by a research team composed of people from Thailand and the US. It is made up of two molecules that had previously been tested as vaccines.
People who took the new combination were able to reduce their risk of contracting HIV by one third. However, a vaccine that can be administered by doctors around the world is still in the works.
All of the study participants were HIV-negative, and all of them were between the ages of 18 and 30.
Eric G. John, the US Ambassador to Thailand, said that the recent development has brought people one step closer to an HIV vaccine.
During the first part of the study, a small group of volunteers were administered the drugs in a safety test.
After the safety of the vaccine was established, a larger group of participants were administered the vaccine.
Scientists then monitored the effects these drugs had on the immune systems of participants.
For the third part of the study, researchers attempted to gauge the effectiveness of the vaccine in a real-life setting.
Roughly one half of the 16,402 volunteers were administered a placebo, while the other half were given the drug combo a total of six times over six months.
When researchers followed up with the study participants, they found that those who had taken the vaccine were 31% less likely to contract HIV than those who took the placebo.
Colonel Jerome Kim, who is the HIV vaccines product manager for the U.S. Army, said that scientists previously thought it was not possible to make an HIV vaccine, and that the results of the study were statistically significant.
Seventy-four people in the placebo group eventually contracted HIV, compared with 51 in the vaccinated group.
The two drugs used in the vaccine were ALVAC and AIDSVAX, neither of which had been able to cut infection rates on its own.
All of the study participants were given counselling on HIV/AIDS prevention as part of the study.
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Title: HIV trial vaccine cuts infection
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 12737
Date Added: 29th Sep 2009