18 July 2008

Aids vaccine trial cancelled

A human trial for an Aids vaccine has been cancelled as sponsors doubt the vaccine's effectiveness and are worried the trial may put volunteers at risk of acquiring HIV.

The sponsors of a planned human trial for an Aids vaccine cancelled the project Thursday, saying they doubted the vaccine's effectiveness and noted that the trial could actually put volunteers at risk of acquiring HIV, The New York Times reported.

The trial, called Partnership for Aids Vaccine Evaluation (Pave), was to be conducted by a consortium of US agencies and private organisations. It was to have begun enlisting 8 500 volunteers last October to evaluate a vaccine developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The trial was shelved, however, after a similar vaccine developed by Merck & Co. failed to prevent the infection and lower blood levels of HIV among people who had already acquired the AIDS-causing virus, the newspaper said.

Data from the Merck vaccine trial also suggested that the shot might have increased some users' risk of acquiring an HIV infection.

Attempts to create an effective HIV/Aids vaccine have been in the making for more than 25 years, and developing one still appears years away, scientists told the Times. – (HealthDay News, July 2008)

Read more:
Aids vaccine decades away


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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria in 2005. She is a patients' rights activist and loves using social media to teach about HIV. She is in private practice in Johannesburg.

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