Thursday, July 31, 2008

U.S Plans for Large-Scale AIDS Vaccine

Recently, United States AIDS researchers are planning to test one experimental vaccine in people, saying the high-profile failure of a Merck and Co. vaccine last year shows the need to do quicker, more focused studies. According to The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the government's National Institutes of Health, it was canceling the HIV vaccine study known as PAVE 100. The failure of Merck's vaccine influenced the decision to cancel the planned trial of the government's PAVE vaccine.

Nowadays, AIDS has killed 25 million people since it was first identified in the 1980s and it infects 33 million people globally. An HIV vaccine is the only hope for ending AIDS epidemic. According to NIAID, it believes the vaccine developed by NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center (VRC) is scientifically intriguing and sufficiently different from previously tested HIV vaccines to consider testing it in a smaller, more focused clinical study.

Federal vaccine developers were taken a new approach after a trial called STEP showed last year that Merck's vaccine might have raised the risk of infection among certain men; those who were not circumcised and whom had pre-existing immune responses to the virus used in the vaccine. The Merck vaccine in tests failed to prevent HIV infection or reduce the amount of HIV in the blood of patients.

The Partnership for AIDS Vaccine Evaluation (PAVE) have been tested the new vaccine that was designed to be given as three injections of HIV genetic material, followed with a final boost of adenovirus. However, while about 30 vaccines are being tested, none has come even close to preventing infection in people.

According to Seth Berkley, an International AIDS Vaccine Initiative president, the PAVE vaccine candidate was different from the STEP candidate, but they can still learn something from testing the PAVE candidate in humans. In addition, there is no need to do so in, as called for in the PAVE 100 design. In addition, he said, "The decision by NIAID does not reflect paralysis in the AIDS vaccine field, or a lack of direction forward. In fact, it reflects the opposite. It reflects the dynamic learning that is the scientific process, which is pharmaceutical product development”

Adenovirus is the virus that has been used by the vaccine to carry bits of the AIDS virus. However, it did not work well. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID director, it was not beneficial and there were the issues of risk for people who were uncircumcised.

Scientists had argued whether it was justified to go ahead with a large trial of a vaccine that could not be expected to protect people against infection in the hope of finding something in their biological responses that could help design a better vaccine down the road.

Related articles:
ids Epidemic Should Be Classified As a Global Disaster
South Africa to Ban Aids Vitamin Trials

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