Reuters reports on how the results of an experimental AIDS vaccine, which showed modest potential for preventing infection, are leading researchers back "to the drawing board" as they try to better understand how the AIDS vaccine works. "What is needed there is more in-depth analysis, to extend these findings, doing both clinical (human) and preclinical (animal) studies to find out why it is working and how we can make it better," Jim Tartaglia, vice president of research and development at Sanofi, said. The article includes information about how the AIDS vaccine produces a different immune response than researchers expected.
"The findings do offer renewed hope for finding a better vaccine," the news service writes. "There are now six approaches that look better than Merck's [failed] vaccine in the best of the animal models," Seth Berkley, head of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, said. "IAVI believes the rewards could be substantial -- not just stopping the worst pandemic of our times, but financially," Reuters writes (Fox, 9/28).
In related news, Reuters examines the role of the Thai health authorities in recruiting volunteers and carrying out the AIDS vaccine clinical trial, "mark[ing] a triumph for Thailand, a country of 67 million people where a booming sex industry had stoked fears of a major epidemic." The article includes information about a "massive government-led AIDS education and prevention campaign in the early 1990s" in Thailand that helped to drive down the number of HIV infections annually (Lyn/Petty, 9/28).
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