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Thread: World First: Vaccine Helps Prevent HIV Infection

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    fyi World First: Vaccine Helps Prevent HIV Infection

    World First: Vaccine Helps Prevent HIV Infection

    Thursday, September 24, 2009
    Associated Press

    BANGKOK 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 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, 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 said in a telephone interview. 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 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 in a telephone interview. "This is something that we can do."

    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, the U.N. agency UNAIDS estimates.

    "Today marks an historic milestone," said Mitchell Warren, executive director of the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, an international group that has worked toward develping a vaccine.

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

    The Thailand Ministry of Public Health conducted the study, which 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.

    The study actually tested a two-vaccine combo in a "prime-boost" approach, where the first one primes the immune system to attack HIV and the second one strengthens the response.

    They are ALVAC, from Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine division of French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis; and AIDSVAX, originally developed by VaxGen Inc. and now held by Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases, a nonprofit founded by some former VaxGen employees.

    ALVAC uses canarypox, a bird virus altered so it can't cause human disease, to ferry synthetic versions of three HIV genes into the body. AIDSVAX contains a genetically engineered version of a protein on HIV's surface. The vaccines are not made from whole virus dead or alive and cannot cause HIV.

    Neither vaccine in the study prevented HIV infection when tested individually in earlier trials, and dozens of scientists had called the new one futile when it began in 2003.

    "I really didn't have high hopes at all that we would see a positive result," Fauci confessed.

    The results proved the skeptics wrong.

    "The combination is stronger than each of the individual members," said the Army's Kim.

    The study tested the combo in HIV-negative Thai men and women ages 18 to 30 at average risk of becoming infected. Half received four "priming" doses of ALVAC and two "boost" doses of AIDSVAX over six months. The others received dummy shots. No one knew who got what until the study ended.

    All were given condoms, counseling and treatment for any sexually transmitted infections, and were tested every six months for HIV. Any who became infected were given free treatment with antiviral medicines.

    Participants were followed for three years after vaccination ended.

    Results: New infections occurred in 51 of the 8,197 given vaccine and in 74 of the 8,198 who received dummy shots. That worked out to a 31 percent lower risk of infection for the vaccine group.

    The vaccine had no effect on levels of HIV in the blood of those who did become infected. That had been another goal of the study seeing whether the vaccine could limit damage to the immune system and help keep infected people from developing full-blown AIDS.
    This appears to be quite promising. While not a "cure" and certainly not the nuclear weapon in the fight against aids, perhaps this offers some glimmer of actual hope in stopping this disease.

    Thoughts?
    *insert profound statement here*

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    Re: World First: Vaccine Helps Prevent HIV Infection

    The longest journeys begin with a single step
    Ignorance is the refuge of faith
    It's become very apparent that there is nothing respectable about faith
    "If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people"

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    Re: World First: Vaccine Helps Prevent HIV Infection

    That the combination of two vaccines offered a measurable degree of protection is highly encouraging. Hopefully, more progress will be made in the months and years ahead.

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    Re: World First: Vaccine Helps Prevent HIV Infection

    How much does it cost? Most of the people infected with aids don't have much money, and the vaccine won't help if they can't afford it.

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    Re: World First: Vaccine Helps Prevent HIV Infection

    Ironic this study was conducted in Bangkok.

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    Re: World First: Vaccine Helps Prevent HIV Infection

    This is all good news, but as I understand it the HIV strain in that part of the world varies from the HIV strain in the United States. I would be interested to see how it translates to those in the United States.

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    Re: World First: Vaccine Helps Prevent HIV Infection

    I'm not holding my breath, AIDS is a slippery foe.
    "Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." ~ Isaac Asimov

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    Re: World First: Vaccine Helps Prevent HIV Infection

    The more wealthy Southeast Asian countries tend to be a bastion for free pharmaceutical enterprise. A recent winner of an award there (whose name I cannot for the life of me remember) won the award because she cracked the formula of an AIDS medication, despite huge pharamceutical industry pressures in the West to stop. That generic medication is now available for nearly 80% cheaper now.

    I frankly don't trust Western 'researchers' anymore. They are placed in a black corporate box and the results are channeled for profit purposes. If anyone was able to find an actual cure in the West, it would be quickly supressed. Same goes for cancer.

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    Re: World First: Vaccine Helps Prevent HIV Infection

    Quote Originally Posted by GarzaUK View Post
    I'm not holding my breath, AIDS is a slippery foe.
    than you better hold your pecker in shrink wrap

    Human Taxidermist - - now offering his services for all your loved ones
    Quote Originally Posted by jallman View Post
    How the hell did you just tie in a retroactive reparative measure with a proactive preventative measure. Not even close to being the same thing.

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