A bit of good news in the fight against HIV.
In what is possibly the largest HIV vaccine trial ever, researchers found that through a series of inoculations, those who received treatment were 31% less likely to contract the disease than those who were given a placebo.
Doctors warn that their gains are modest but that progress is being made. From CNN:
“Before this study, it was thought vaccine for HIV is not possible,” Col. Jerome Kim, who is the HIV vaccines product manager for the U.S. Army, told CNN.
Kim emphasized that the level of efficacy was modest, but given the failures of previous HIV vaccine trials, “yesterday we would have thought an HIV vaccine wasn’t possible.”
He called the results from the trial an important first step that will help researchers work toward a more effective vaccine.
Researchers have tried to prevent the spread of HIV since they discovered its cause in 1986. Previous vaccine trials failed to prevent infection. And during one trial, the vaccine seemed to boost the chance of being infected, which ended testing early.
The new study was conducted in Thailand, with more than 16,000 people between ages 18 and 30 participating. They were all HIV negative at the beginning of the trial.
Nearly 8,200 received a placebo and a similar number received a combination of six vaccines over six months. All were followed for three years.