Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
USA Today Examines HIV/AIDS Vaccine Research Efforts
USA Today on Wednesday examined the search for an effective HIV/AIDS vaccine, as researchers "realize their work is still just beginning" following a "steady drumbeat of discouraging results" from clinical testing. Currently, almost two dozen prototype vaccines are being tested in humans, and 11 of the vaccines are being tested through the U.S. government-sponsored HIV Vaccine Trials Network. But so far, researchers have not found any combination of HIV genes or proteins that generates immune responses potent enough to protect an indivudual from infection, according to USA Today. Most HIV/AIDS vaccines currently in development do not guard against initial infection but aim to manage the virus and prolong health once an individual is infected. One of the challenges that researchers face is that testing HIV vaccines in monkeys does not accurately predict vaccines' effects in humans, so researchers have to test the vaccines in more expensive, small-scale human trials, USA Today reports. "This is probably going to turn out to be the most difficult vaccine to develop in the history of vaccine research," Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said (Sternberg, USA Today, 9/29).
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