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Experimental AIDS Vaccine Delivers Good News
Date:9/24/2009

The chief usefulness of the ALVAC-AIDSVAX vaccine will probably be what it can teach infectious-disease researchers about what is happening in the immune system when a person is even somewhat protected against HIV, the Washington Post reported.

"We really need to go through the data to see if there are effects here that are potentially useful," Kim said.

He predicted that information gained from the trial after the results are fully analyzed will have "important implications for the design of future HIV vaccines," the Post reported.

Fauci stressed that the new trial results do not mark "the end of the road," but he was surprised and pleased by the outcome, the AP reported.

"It gives me cautious optimism about the possibility of improving this result" and developing a more effective AIDS vaccine, he said. "This is something that we can do."

Leaders in the search for an AIDS vaccine were also heartened by the news.

Seth Berkley, president and chief executive officer of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, said in a statement: "It's the first demonstration that a candidate AIDS vaccine provides benefit in humans. Until now, we've had evidence of feasibility for an AIDS vaccine in animal models. Now, we've got a vaccine candidate that appears to show a protective effect in humans, albeit partially."

Dr. Alan Bernstein, executive director of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, said in a statement: "This is a historic day in the 26-year quest to develop an AIDS vaccine. The results of the Thai Phase III HIV vaccine clinical trial of the 'prime-boost' combination . . . demonstrate that a safe and effective AIDS vaccine is an achievable goal. This trial is the first demonstration in humans that, with more research, it will be possible to develop a vaccine that is fully protective against HIV."

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