Pattaya Daily News

20 October 2009 :: 16:10:21 pm 31655

Much Vaunted Aids Vaccine Results Thrown Into Doubt

Pattaya, October 20, 2009, [PDN]: the results of the world‘s largest clinical trial of a HIV vaccine conducted on a test group of 16,000 Thai volunteers have been thrown into doubt. The initial results which appeared to give a 31% protection have been challenged by data from Paris, which questioned the reliability of the statistical methods used.
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The trial using a test group of 16,000 Thai volunteers, aged between 18 and 30, which was co-sponsored by the Thai government and US military, had initially claimed a 31% success rate among a sub-group of 8000, which was considered statistically significant rather than being random. Although 51 volunteers had later become infected with the HIV virus, compared with 74 only given placebos, Seth Berkley of the International Aids Vaccine Initiative, maintained the results were “exciting news and a significant scientific achievement,” according to the BBC. She had also reportedly said “Now we have got a vaccine candidate that appears to show a protective effect in humans, albeit partially.”

This initially encouraging news, however, received a cold reception at a Paris conference where new data was presented. The Thai results were challenged saying the result that was only just statistically significant, in addition, researchers couldn?t actually explain just how the mix of 5 vaccines were working.

Gus Cairns, from the UK HIV information charity NAM, asserted, according to the BBC, that “This means there was a one in 26 chance that the results could be due to pure chance – and that this may not reflect anything at all. That’s difficult. And there is also subset analysis of this study that if you only look at the people who strictly adhered to the protocol – i.e. took all their vaccine doses – then it becomes not statistically significant.”

To counterbalance the negative assertions however, certain authorities like the executive director of the Global HIV vaccine enterprise, Dr Aland Bernstein was more positive, saying if the results of the trial ?hold up ….. then it is an important contribution.” Similar sentiments were expressed by Alan Bernstein of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, according to Reuters News Agency who said “We are not going to see all the results of the Thai trial tomorrow … we hope this is going to lead to something more important, from 31 percent to a higher figure (of protection).”

Further bad news, however, came concerning the availability of funds for continuing research, treatment and prevention of the virus due to the economic downturn. Dr. Peter Piot of the Institute for Global Health at Imperial College London and a former head of the United Nations AIDS agency UNAIDS, according to Reuters News Agency reportedly said “I’m very concerned that AIDS is slipping off the agenda in many countries of the world due to a combination of financial and economic crises.”

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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