AIDS Vaccine Unveiled in Thailand Yields Surprising Results. The experimental AIDS vaccine lowered HIV infection by one-third.
U.S. and Thai researchers say an experimental AIDS vaccine has for the first time cut the risk of HIV infection by almost a third. The experimental vaccine, made up of two older vaccines surprised scientists by lowering HIV infection rates among 16,000 Thai volunteers by more than 30 percent. As VOA's Elizabeth Lee reports, trials conducted in Thailand were a partnership between the Thai government and the United States.
Over three years, more than 16-thousand Thai volunteers participated in an
experimental vaccine trial for HIV AIDS.
The results -- the vaccine reduced the risk of infection by more than 30 percent. A breakthrough, says trial director Dr. Supachai says “This is the first time that we can prove that a vaccine can be developed to prevent infection among the vaccines, which is the first stepping stone for future vaccine development".
Many in the scientific community did not expect the trials to produce favorable results because the vaccine is actually a combination of two older vaccines. Individually, neither vaccine prevents HIV infection. But when combined, one vaccine primes the immune system to attack the virus, the second one strengthens the response.
Trial volunteers are optimistic they are one step closer to preventing AIDS.
But those already infected with HIV AIDS are not as hopeful. The vaccine had no effect on the level of virus for those who did become infected, allowing it to continue damaging their immune systems as it did to those HIV patients who went unvaccinated.
Scientists stress that it is unclear whether the vaccine given in Thailand will work against other strains of HIV in the U.S., Africa or elsewhere in the world.
The World Health Organization's most recent statistics show that 33 million people globally were infected with the AIDS virus in 2007.
Therefore the discovery of this kind of is a key step that gives hope to people around the world that we be able to produce vaccines to prevent this deadly virus.