In the News: HIV Vaccine Could Change the World

By: Tiffani Haynes

A breakthrough in medical science has created an experimental HIV vaccine in Bangkok on Thursday.

 According to the Associated Press, “the vaccine 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.”

 The study was sponsored by the U.S. Army and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and conducted by the Thailand Ministry of Public Health. It used strains of HIV found common in Thailand and experts are unsure if it would work against the strains found in the U.S.

 A two-vaccine combo, ALVAC and AIDSVAX, was used to combat the virus, one to prepare the immune system and one to strengthen the system’s response to HIV. Neither drug had positive results alone.

 “The combination is stronger than each of the individual members,” said the Army’s Kim, a physician who manages the Army’s HIV vaccine program.

Eighteen-to-30 year old men and women of average risk were used in the study to determine if the vaccine could indeed work. After the vaccine was administered, the participants were given sex counseling, condoms, routine testing for HIV and treatments for any STDs during the study. Half were given the vaccine and half the placebo shots. They were monitored over three years to track the effectiveness of the vaccine.

 Fifty-one of the 8,197 given the vaccine became infected with HIV, while 74 of the 8, 198 became infected, averaging out to be a 31 percent lower risk.

 The $105 million dollar trial study is the continued experiments of finding a vaccine for HIV.

 For more information, visit the Associated Press website.

 

*Image courtesy of www.diseasencure.com

 

 

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