HIV Vaccine Shows Success in Trials
Researchers announced today that an experimental treatment managed to reduce the risk of becoming infected with the virus that causes AIDS by more than 31 percent.
The results have shocked scientists who didn't expect the trial to produce any significant results.
More than 16,000 volunteers in Thailand determined not to have any particular risk of becoming infected were given a combination of two vaccines that had previously been proven unsuccessful, which is why many had said this trial was a waste of money and time.
But researchers were surprised when, for reasons that aren't entirely clear, the combination seemed to have an effect on HIV strains that are common in Thailand.
Despite the relatively modest benefit, scientists hailed the study as a milestone that could serve as a blueprint for further research and demonstrated that some sort of a vaccine to combat the virus is possible.
The trial, which began in October 2003 and ended up a few months ago, cost $105 million and was mostly paid for by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The US Army paid for 25 percent of it.
About 7,500 people are infected with HIV every day, the UN says.