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HIV / AIDS Vaccine

Medical history was made on Thursday when two U.N. agencies stated that promising results with an experimental new AIDS vaccine offered new hope in the battle against HIV, but more tests still need to be done.

The new HIV vaccine tested on volunteers is a mixture of Sanofi-Aventis’s ALVAC canary pox vaccine and the failed HIV vaccine AIDSVAX, made by VaxGen and now managed by the Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases, a non-profit organization.

from the official NIH announcement:

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“These new findings represent an important step forward in HIV vaccine research,” says Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the NIH, which provided major funding and other support for the study. “For the first time, an investigational HIV vaccine has demonstrated some ability to prevent HIV infection among vaccinated individuals. Additional research is needed to better understand how this vaccine regimen reduced the risk of HIV infection, but certainly this is an encouraging advance for the HIV vaccine field.”

The Geneva-based World Health Organization and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) said:

“The study results, representing a significant scientific advance, are the first demonstration that a vaccine can prevent HIV infection in a general adult population and are of great importance.”

The vaccine lowered the risk of HIV infection by 32 percent among 16,000 heterosexual Thai volunteers who had no special risk of AIDS infection, according to the U.S. and Thai government researchers.

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