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HIV vaccine trial shows promising results

A clinical trial involving 16,000 adults has shown a new HIV vaccine regimen reduced the rate of infection by 31.2 per cent

A clinical trial involving 16,000 adults has shown a new HIV vaccine regimen reduced the rate of infection by 31.2 per cent.

A phase III trial carried out in Thailand and sponsored by the US Army Surgeon General has shown an investigational 'prime-boost' combination vaccine, consisting of ALVAC-HIV (prime) and AIDSVAX B/E (boost), to be safe and modestly effective in preventing HIV infection.

The final analysis found 51 of the 8,197 participants who were given the vaccine regimen became infected with HIV compared with 74 of 8,198 volunteers who received the placebo.

"This is the first HIV vaccine candidate to successfully reduce the risk of HIV infection in humans. We are very excited and pleased with the outcome of this trial and congratulate all those who participated in it," said Lieutenant General Eric Schoomaker, Surgeon General, US Army.

The study consisted on 16,402 non-infected volunteers aged 18-30 years old who were at average risk of HIV infection. Half the group were given the prime-boost vaccine and the other half received a placebo. The last vaccinations were administered in July 2006, and the volunteers received HIV tests every six months for three years.

The prime vaccine, ALVAC-HIV is manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur, and AIDSVAX B/E, the booster vaccine, was manufactured by Genentech under license from VaxGen. Gloabal Solutions for Infectious Diseases (GSID) has now assumed responsibility for the development and manufacture of AIDSVAX B/E.

The Thai Ministry of Public Health conducted the trial in collaboration with a team of leading Thai and US researchers. The trial was coordinated by the US Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) with funding from various departments of the US Government including the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Colonel Jerome Kim, deputy director of science at the MHRP and the HIV vaccines product manager for the US Army said: "Knowledge gained through this study will be used to accelerate future study design and testing as researchers continue the search for a safe, globally-effective HIV vaccine."

24th September 2009

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