News / Africa

AIDS Vaccine Conference Ends with Eye to Future

AIDS Vaccine Conference Ends with Eye to Future
AIDS Vaccine Conference Ends with Eye to Future
Joe DeCapua

The AIDS Vaccine 2011 conference ended Thursday in Bangkok, Thailand. While a vaccine to help end the pandemic remains elusive, scientific advances are being made.

About 850 scientists, researchers and others met for four days to discuss progress on finding a vaccine to prevent HIV infection. It’s the only conference to focus exclusively on that.

Exciting time

Mitchell Warren, head of the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, or AVAC, gives the meeting fairly high marks.

“I’d say on a scale from one to ten, we are in a scientific zone in the upper sevens and eights,” he said.

AVAC is a non-profit organization with a stated goal speeding up the “ethical development and delivery of AIDS vaccines” as part of a “comprehensive response to the pandemic.”

Mitchell Warren of AVAC
Mitchell Warren of AVAC

“We are in a terrific moment in the field and I must say it is terrifically exciting to be able to do this meeting here in Bangkok. It’s not just good science, but to be in the country where the largest AIDS vaccine trial in the world took place - and the first trial to demonstrate that a vaccine was possible – it’s pretty exciting timing,” he said.

That vaccine candidate is known as RV-144. The results of the trial involving about 16,000 participants were announced in 2009. They showed a protection rate of about 31 percent - not nearly good enough to go to market, but good enough to show it can be done.

Now what?

Warren said, “Over the last two years, an unprecedented international collaboration has been underway to try to understand why we got the modest effect in that trial that we did.”

What they found were not definite answers, but rather new signals of what direction to take next.

“It is what we call hypothesis generating and there is going to need to be some additional studies to confirm that. But these are the first signals we’ve ever had,” he said.

A follow-up trial to RV-144 will be held in 2014. It will reflect new the data and direction developed since 2009.

Meanwhile, there is a vaccine trial that’s currently recruiting 2,200 participants in about 20 U.S. cities. It’s sponsored by the HIV Vaccine Trials Network. HVTN 505 is the world’s largest ongoing HIV vaccine study and uses a combination of two experimental vaccines. It will focus on preventing infection among men who have sex with men and transgender women.

“While this is one of the most exciting times in our field, it is also the most complex time in our field. These are complexities and challenges that we’ve longed for. I think it’s safe to say that vaccine trials are going to get more complicated, but more interesting in the next couple of years,” said Warren.

Three-part strategy

He added that in these difficult economic times, a comprehensive strategic plan is needed for HIV/AIDS. The near and midterm strategies, he says, should include scaling up treatment and care, condoms, male circumcision, microbicides and the use of antiretroviral drugs as a preventive measure. The long term strategy is an AIDS vaccine.

“The near term and midterm strategies are the ones that are going to help us begin to control the epidemic. The long term strategy will get us an end to the epidemic,” he said.

AIDS Vaccine 2012 will be held next September in Boston, Massachusetts.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid