New HIV vaccine helps prevent AIDS

From The Huffington Post:

For the first time, an experimental vaccine has prevented infection with the AIDS virus, a watershed event in the deadly epidemic and a surprising result. Recent failures led many scientists to think such a vaccine might never be possible.

The World Health Organization and the U.N. agency UNAIDS said the results “instilled new hope” in the field of HIV vaccine research, although researchers say it likely is many years before a vaccine might be available.

The vaccine — a combination of two previously unsuccessful vaccines — cut the risk of becoming infected with HIV by more than 31 percent in the world’s largest AIDS vaccine trial of more than 16,000 volunteers in Thailand, researchers announced Thursday in Bangkok.

Even though the benefit is modest, “it’s the first evidence that we could have a safe and effective preventive vaccine,” Col. Jerome Kim told The Associated Press. He helped lead the study for the U.S. Army, which sponsored it with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The institute’s director, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned that this is “not the end of the road,” but he said he was surprised and very pleased by the outcome.

“It gives me cautious optimism about the possibility of improving this result” and developing a more effective AIDS vaccine, Fauci said. “This is something that we can do.”

The Thailand Ministry of Public Health conducted the study. The U.S. Army has long worked with that government and others to develop and test vaccines and medicines to protect troops and the general public.

The study used strains of HIV common in Thailand. Whether such a vaccine would work against other strains in the U.S., Africa or elsewhere in the world is unknown, scientists stressed.

Even a marginally helpful vaccine could have a big impact. Every day, 7,500 people worldwide are newly infected with HIV; 2 million died of AIDS in 2007, UNAIDS estimates.

“Today marks a historic milestone,” said Mitchell Warren, executive director of the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, an international group that has worked toward developing a vaccine. Warren was not involved in the study.

“It will take time and resources to fully analyze and understand the data, but there is a little doubt that this finding will energize and redirect the AIDS vaccine field,” he said in a statement.

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About D. Hudson

A gentleman and a scholar.
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One Response to New HIV vaccine helps prevent AIDS

  1. R. Hi says:

    Thank god… real talk though, I could have swore that I heard something about this like a week ago, that or I had a really odd dream, that I now need help explaining…

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