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VAXGEN AIDS Vaccine Safe, But Not Protective - 2003-02-24

Some disappointing news today on AIDS vaccine research. The California firm VAXGEN has announced the results of the first aids vaccine ever fully tested in humans. While the vaccine, known as AIDSVAX, was proven safe, it did not prove effective in human trials in North America and Europe.

More than five thousand volunteers took part in the study. But according the VAXGEN and IAVI, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, the results were “statistically equal” in those who received the vaccine and those who received the placebo. In other words, IAVI says, “This means that the vaccine is not protective.”

A small number of black volunteers apparently had better results with the vaccine than others. But IAVI says their number is so small that “it is difficult to draw conclusions about what it means.” Further analysis of the findings will be done in the weeks and months ahead.

Overall, there are up to a dozen other vaccines currently in trials, and more are being planned.

VOA's Joe De Capua spoke with Wayne Koff, senior vice president of IAVI's research and development program, about the VAXGEN test results. Click the above links to download or listen to interview.