Tuesday, October 16, 2007

HIV Vaccine Fails

HIV Vaccine Hopeful Fails: Scientific American
" The two-decade-long search for an AIDS vaccine suffered a major blow last week when researchers prematurely halted the much-anticipated trial of a new HIV vaccine after it failed to block or slow down infections...The so-called STEP trial, sponsored by pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. and the federally funded HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), was the first to test the idea of stimulating the immune system's killer T cells to hunt for the virus more aggressively, in this case using a weakened form of the cold virus to carry three genes from HIV... In V520, each of three HIV genes—gag, pol and nef—was inserted into a separate weakened adenovirus, one of the viruses that cause the common cold. Human cells infected by the viruses produced the gene products, giving T cells an advance exposure to them...the adenovirus used in V520 was altered so it couldn't reproduce, which may have limited its effectiveness"

AIDS RESEARCH: Promising AIDS Vaccine's Failure Leaves Field Reeling -- Cohen 318 (5847): 28 -- Science "The failure of a promising AIDS vaccine in a large human trial, dubbed STEP, has stunned researchers and raised concerns about the broader T-cell vaccine concept and the future of AIDS vaccine research and development." ($ pay wall)

Massively under-reported story and if Science is right, a serious set back. A virologist friend thinks it is truly a serious setback - of the 5-10yr variety. Unbelievably bad news.

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