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Agency Calls Off HIV Vaccine Trial

Results from South Africa show vaccine wasn't effective
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2020 6:15 PM CST
Updated Feb 8, 2020 10:30 AM CST
Pharmacist Mary Chindanyika labels a refrigerator containing a trial vaccine against HIV outside Cape Town, South Africa, last fall.   (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

(Newser) – "An HIV vaccine is essential to end the global pandemic, and we hoped this vaccine candidate would work," a US health agency said Monday. "Regrettably, it does not." With that, the clinical trial in South Africa was shut down, CNN reports; the vaccine was not found to be effective in preventing the spread of the virus that causes AIDS. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the agency within the NIH that sponsored the trial, called it off after an independent board said the vaccine wasn't working. Preliminary results showed, per the BBC, that there were 123 HIV infections among volunteers who received a placebo and 129 among those who received the vaccine. More than 5,000 people were involved in the study, which was launched in 2016, at 14 places in South Africa.

Another organization, Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, expressed its "deep disappointment" that the trial was abandoned. "Whilst this is a significant setback for the field, we need to continue the quest for a preventive vaccine," an official said. The NIH is still involved in two HIV vaccine trials. The vaccines don't bring any risk of giving a person HIV, because the vaccine doesn't contain the virus. "Research continues on other approaches to a safe and effective HIV vaccine," said Dr. Anthony Fauci of the NIAID, "which I still believe can be achieved." (Read more HIV stories.)

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