HIV Vaccine May Cut Infection Rate
Posted on Sep 24, 2009
After almost 30 years since HIV surfaced in the United States, researchers in Thailand and the U.S. have created an experimental vaccine that has, over a seven-year study, been found to reduce the risk of contracting HIV by one-third. The vaccine is a combination of two existing vaccinations that were not successful in reducing infection. —JCL
An experimental HIV vaccine has for the first time cut the risk of infection, researchers say.
A medical trial in Thailand has raised hopes of a major breakthrough in the fight against Aids after scientists said an experimental vaccine had reduced the risk of HIV infection by a third.
The world’s largest HIV/Aids vaccine trial of more than 16,000 volunteers was the first in which infection has been prevented, according to the US army, which sponsored the trial with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
A combination of two vaccines was tested on HIV-negative Thai men and women aged 18 to 30 at average risk of becoming infected. All the volunteers were given counselling and condoms to help them avoid HIV. Then half were randomly picked to receive the vaccine, while the other half got dummy shots. Until the trial ended, nobody knew who had been given the genuine vaccine and who had not.
Col. Jerome Kim, who helped to lead the $105-million study for the U.S. Army, said it was “the first evidence that we could have a safe and effective preventive vaccine.”