Ever since the announcement that the largest-ever clinical trial of an AIDS vaccine had been shown to provide at least modest protection against HIV infection, scientists, AIDS policy experts, and pundits have attempted to explain the findings. Often, those explanations left a great deal to be desired.
The trial, conducted in Thailand, utilized more than 16,000 Thai volunteers, was administered by the US Army, and was financed by the National Institutes of Health. The results have been hotly debated ever since their release: some argue that the trial demonstrates a clear efficacy of an AIDS vaccine regimen for the first time, even though the numbers of those protected from infection were quite small compared to the sample size. Others, including The Wall Street Journal, counter that because of that disparity, the statistical significance of the results should be questioned.
Regardless of the ultimate resolution of this debate, the trial has demonstrated one thing clearly: the need for an AIDS vaccine exists. No matter how the results are portrayed, the fact of the matter is that more people have been infected with HIV — and a cure is still out of reach. Whether this particular vaccine regimen is determined to have protected a few or to have had statistically no effect, research must continue.
Until There’s A Cure is committed to supporting that research. We support research performed by IAVI; we support the efforts by AVAC to promote vaccine trials. We helped seed GSID, one of the partners in the Thai vaccine trial. We will continue to support this research because we need a cure — science does not produce easy answers and rarely do benefits arise without struggles and setbacks. We will continue to push for vaccine advocacy, care and services, prevention education, and vaccine research Until There’s A Cure, and we can’t do it without you.
-Until There’s A Cure