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AIDS vaccine falls short but shows some promise

If the numbers are certified by independent experts, it could be significant for Africa, where the epidemic is skyrocketing. But the vaccine would require some additional work. In Africa, where the strain of HIV is slightly different, it would take time to do simple modifications that could make it work there as well.

The company says it planned to continue developing a vaccine and will examine more closely why it worked better in blacks and Asians than whites and Hispanics, according to The Associated Press. Researchers have started comparing the blood serum of those who were protected by the vaccine with those who weren't to try to find out what happened in the body to protect them.

If the test results bear out, it could prove to be the basis for developing an HIV vaccine. Researchers counseled patients in the experiments to practice safe sex because the vaccine may not work and because one-third of the volunteers received the placebo.

Experts think a vaccine is the only way to stop the worldwide AIDS epidemic, which already has killed 20 million people and infected 40 million more.

Until now, researchers have had nothing in the lab to use as an example of how to fight the virus that causes AIDS. If Researchers are able to isolate the mechanism that protected people from HIV, they might finally have a guide.

The FDA will have the final decision on whether the vaccine is licensed for certain populations.
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