February 5, 2020
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, announced on February 3 that it had halted a clinical trial of the HIV vaccine, HVTN 702, based on an interim review that found it did not prevent infection with the AIDs-causing virus.
The agency sponsored trial had been conducted in South Africa since 2016—and, although this vaccine did not do the job, the researchers say they will continue to search for a more successful counteragent.
“An HIV vaccine is essential to end the global pandemic, and we hoped this vaccine candidate would work. Regrettably, it does not,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID director, said in a statement, adding, “Research continues on other approaches to a safe and effective HIV vaccine, which I still believe can be achieved.”.
In a separate news release, the Geneva, Switzerland-based Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise announced “deep disappointment” that the vaccine study had been stopped.
“Whilst this is a significant setback for the field, we need to continue the quest for a preventive vaccine. The rates of HIV infection, which continue unabated in this region, should spur greater urgency, global attention, and investment to the quest,” Linda-Gail Bekker, immediate past president of the International AIDS Society and chair of the Enterprise Advisory Group, said in that separate announcement.
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