On World AIDS Day, a Call for Sounder Science

Stronger research would trump futile drug trials
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2008 12:25 PM CST
A ribbon commemorating World AIDS Day hangs at the White House.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Researchers are hopeful they can develop an AIDS vaccine despite the recent, high-profile failures of two clinical trials, Health Day reports. But progress must be built on solid science and convincing preliminary results in animals. “There have been a lot of calls for a return to basic science,” one advocate said on World AIDS Day, “rather than testing candidates in people.”

An HIV vaccine is necessarily complicated: It must convey two types of immunity, act quickly in areas of the body where the virus quickly secures a beachhead by substituting DNA, and last a lifetime. Primate trials of earlier vaccines have been criticized for not protecting against the greatly various strains of the disease. Much promising research is underway.