HIV/AIDS Researchers Should See VaxGen Announcement as ‘Challenge’ Not ‘Defeat,’ Editorial Says
HIV/AIDS advocates should not be "defeated" by the results of VaxGen's AIDSVAX trial but should instead consider the results a "challenge" to continue with similar research, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorial says (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/28). Last week, Brisbane, Calif.-based biotech firm VaxGen, the makers of AIDSVAX, the first AIDS vaccine to be tested in a Phase III clinical trial, announced that the vaccine failed to protect the overall study population from HIV infection. However, VaxGen also said that the vaccine, which mimics the protein gp120 in an attempt to stimulate antibody production, was effective among African Americans, Asians and other non-white, non-Hispanic volunteers. VaxGen said that in a subgroup of 498 non-white, non-Hispanic volunteers the vaccine "appeared to provide protection in the range of 30% to 84%" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/27). Those findings are "intriguing enough to justify further investigation," the editorial continues. The editorial concludes that prevention and education "only go so far" in efforts to curb the spread of HIV, adding, "Wealthy nations, including [the Bush] administration, must help by committing more resources to researchers instead of offering just a Band-Aid" (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/28).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.