Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
HIV Vaccine Not Likely in Next Decade, UNAIDS Executive Director Says
UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot on Monday said that an HIV vaccine is not likely to be developed within the next 10 years, AFP/Times of India reports. Piot said that "any breakthrough" in vaccine development would stem from a "long process of trial and error," according to AFP/Times of India. Although human trials of HIV vaccines are currently being conducted in Italy, South Africa and Germany, Piot said he is "not optimistic about these trials." The only Phase III human trial of a potential HIV vaccine ended last year, AFP/Times of India reports (AFP/Times of India, 3/22). VaxGen in November 2003 announced that late-stage clinical trials of its AIDS vaccine AIDSVAX failed because the vaccine did not affect HIV infection rates among participants. The trial, the first HIV vaccine efficacy trial ever held in a developing nation, involved nearly 2,500 injection drug users in Thailand (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/21). Piot said he "applauds" the trials, adding that "they are necessary because that's how we'll make progress." But he said that "for all practical purposes, UNAIDS does not believe there will be an effective vaccine in the next 10 years." Piot said that vaccine development would continue to be slow, even with added interest from drug makers, according to AFP/Times of India. He added, "Vaccine development is a very empirical type of science, it's based on trial and error, all scientists would say that" (AFP/Times of India, 3/22).
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