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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 26, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 17
Feds terminate HIV vaccine study - HVTN 505 judged ineffective after four-year trial, Seattle project affected
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Feds terminate HIV vaccine study - HVTN 505 judged ineffective after four-year trial, Seattle project affected

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases announced on April 25 that it is terminating the HVTN 505 clinical trial, an HIV vaccine study conducted locally by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

'The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, will stop administering injections in its HVTN 505 clinical trial of an investigational HIV vaccine regimen because an independent data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) found during a scheduled interim review that the vaccine regimen did not prevent HIV infection nor reduce viral load (the amount of HIV in the blood) among vaccine recipients who became infected with HIV,' NIAID said in a statement.

The vaccine study began in 2009 with some 2,500 enrolled participants in 19 cities including Seattle. Participants were either men who have sex with men, or Transgender people who have sex with men.

JUDGED INEFFECTIVE
Half the group received the experimental vaccine and half received a placebo. A regularly scheduled evaluation on April 22 found that slightly more participants who got the vaccine later contracted HIV than members of the control, or placebo, group.

Overall, 41 cases of HIV infection occurred in the volunteers who received the experimental vaccine and 30 cases of HIV infection occurred among the recipients who received the placebo.

In other words, the chance of getting HIV was the same for those who took the vaccine as for unprotected volunteers, meaning that the vaccine offered no benefit.

The review also showed the vaccine failed to reduce viral load - the amount of HIV in the blood - for people who had been diagnosed with HIV and were tracked for 20 weeks of follow-up.

No explanation has been offered for the vaccine's failure. The NIH said in a statement that while it is stopping vaccinations, it will continue to study the volunteers' health.

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