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AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition Voices Disappointment in Trial Result
Date:9/21/2007

Applauds Merck's Leadership and Calls for Reinvigorated Effort to Design

and Test AIDS Vaccines

NEW YORK, Sept. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC) released the following statement from Executive Director Mitchell Warren about the announcement that vaccinations have been discontinued in the STEP Study, a test-of-concept trial of the MRK-Ad5 AIDS vaccine candidate developed by the Merck Research Laboratories:

"Today's announcement about the STEP Study is a deep disappointment and a scientific setback for the AIDS vaccine field. However, it must be seen for what it is: the failure of a product to show efficacy in a specific trial. Clinical testing of AIDS vaccines is a scientific process and, while this is a disappointment, it is in no way the end of the search for an AIDS vaccine.

"These data are certainly not the ones that we had hoped for. The entire HIV vaccine field, including AVAC, had been looking to STEP and its companion Phambili trial in South Africa, to provide initial evidence of vaccine-related benefits. Even as the data disappoint, we also note the success of the STEP Study trial design in providing a swift answer to the critical question of whether or not the vaccine provided any benefits. A successful clinical trial is one that produces a scientifically accurate result. It may not be the result you had hoped for, but it answers questions that help the field move forward.

"We applaud Merck's tremendous leadership on HIV vaccine research. The company has set an example for the field, taking on one of the most important health technology challenges of our time. Merck and its collaborator, the US NIH-funded HIV Vaccine Trials Network, have been committed, strategic and willing to take risks at every stage of evaluating MRK-Ad5, and they must be commended for this. AVAC also recognizes the contributions of the thousands of volunteers in these trials. Their altrui
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SOURCE AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition
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