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AIDS Vaccine Failures Highlight Need to Focus on Lifesaving Treatment, Says AHF
Date:11/15/2007

As Vaccine Efforts Stumble, Millions Remain Without AIDS Treatment

Worldwide

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For the second time in two weeks, clinical researchers working to develop an AIDS vaccine have announced that their efforts have stumbled or, in the case of Merck -- outright failed -- after Merck's AIDS vaccine trial was halted last week when its vaccine was suspected of actually making some study participants more susceptible to contracting HIV. These latest shortcomings in the increasingly elusive search for a safe and effective AIDS vaccine underscore the need to focus on promoting HIV prevention and scaling up the delivery of lifesaving antiretroviral treatment (ART), both proven and existing strategies, to help keep people around the world from becoming infected, or for those already living with HIV/AIDS, alive and well, said AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF).

Earlier today, Reuters reported that " ... another experimental AIDS vaccine may damage the immune system by exhausting key cells ... a finding that may further cloud the field of HIV vaccines." Reuters noted that the researchers, who published their findings in the 'Journal of Clinical Investigation' said that, " ... vaccines using the viruses should not be tested on people until more studies are done," and that, " ... In mice, the adeno-associated virus, or AAV vaccines, directly interfered with immune cells called CD8 T-cells ... the 'killer' T-cells that a vaccine is supposed to muster to fight HIV."

"Development of a safe and effective AIDS vaccine is a clearly a noble and worthy goal; however, the sad truth remains that more than 40 million people worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS today, yet barely two million of them have access to lifesaving antiretroviral AIDS treatments," said Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation President. "Treatments that actually do work and help keep those fortunate enough to have
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SOURCE AIDS Healthcare Foundation
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