Highly Anticipated HIV Vaccine Fails
Hopes were high for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine, called HVTN 505. Unfortunately, the experimental trial of the vaccine was shut down last Tuesday after experts found that those taking it were actually more likely to contract HIV than those getting the placebo.
HIV Vaccine Trial Facts
According to the Los Angeles Times:
- 2,500 people participated.
- It ran in 21 sites across the U.S.
- All of the volunteers were men or transgender people who have sex with men.
- When the immunizations came to a stop all participants were told whether they received the vaccine or the placebo.
Was the Vaccine Dangerous or Simply Ineffective?
Researchers said the difference in the risk of HIV infection between the placebo and vaccine groups could have just been a matter of chance.
Either way, the study ended because the vaccine had proved to be ineffective in reaching its goal of preventing the risk of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Vaccine Failed to Prevent HIV
- Out of the 1,250 volunteers who received the experimental vaccine, 41 contracted HIV.
- Out of the 1,244 volunteers who received the placebo, 30 contracted HIV.
Vaccine Failed to Help Those Living with HIV
Researchers had also hoped the vaccine would increase the immunity of those already living with HIV, as previously suspected. But more bad news came when the vaccine did not reduce the viral load for these sufferers.
“This is quite a substantial disappointment,” said Dr. Scott Hammer, one of the trial's principal investigators from Columbia University. But, Hammer said, “we've learned from every clinical efficacy trial we've done. We've had good and bad news, but each one takes us a little closer in terms of what to pursue and not to pursue.”
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