An ongoing dialogue on HIV/AIDS, infectious diseases,
October 12th, 2009
AIDS Vaccine: Maybe not Effective After All
Well, that didn’t take long:
Researchers from the U.S. Army and Thailand announced last month they had found the first vaccine that provided some protection against HIV. But a second analysis of the $105 million study, not disclosed publicly, suggests the results may have been a fluke, according to AIDS scientists who have seen it.
In short, two additional analyses (intention-to-treat and per protocol) do not show a statistically significant protective effect. In other words, the study subjects who followed the protocol most closely (per protocol) had less protection from the vaccine strategy.
What the …
But even in the original report, the protective effect didn’t seem all that great — statistically significant, yes, but maybe not clinically significant — so when you add how cumbersome this vaccine is to administer (and probably to manufacture), as well as these new findings, the likelihood of this vaccine strategy making its way to clinical use seems vanishingly small.
So what can we still hope from this study?
At best, some understanding of the correlates of protection. Maybe.