By Alexys Cran, Courier Staff Writer
In Bangkok Thailand, 16,000 participants between the ages of 18 and 30 were involved in the world's largest HIV vaccine study ever, conducted by The Thailand Ministry of Public Health. The combination of previously unsuccessful vaccines, prime and booster vaccines, were proven effective as the results were modest. However, before this study, it was widely believed that a vaccine for HIV was not possible. And so "modest results" actually means that one day there will be a way to beat the human immunodeficiency virus. It is this virus that causes AIDS, which kills millions every year.
According to CNNHealth.com, the researchers conducting the trial found that people who received a series of inoculations of the prime vaccine and booster vaccine were 31% less likely to be infected with HIV compared with those on a placebo. "The results from the trial are an important first step that will help researchers work toward a more effective vaccine. This shows a statistically significant effect," Colonel Jerome Kim, the HIV vaccines product manager for the U.S. Army, said.
"Yesterday we would have thought an HIV vaccine wasn't possible," Kim said about the failures of previous HIV vaccine trials. "This is a world first which proves that vaccine development is possible," Doctor Supachai Rerks-Ngarm, who led the study, said. "But this is not to the level where we can license or manufacture the vaccine yet." It will be many years before before a vaccine might be available.
The strains researches tested were in Thailand, so it is not known if this vaccine will work elsewhere.
If you are over 18 and are willing to volunteer for HIV research trials, visit helpfighthiv.org.