Selasa, 25 September 2007

AIDS Vaccine Fails in Clinical Trials

This week Merck announced that it was halting test vaccinations of human volunteers with its promising new AIDS vaccine when preliminary findings showed that the drug was not going to be effective in preventing HIV infection. The vaccine was already in Phase II testing (Phase I – is it safe? Phase II – does it work?), meaning that Merck had already invested a lot of time and money in it. Details of the vaccine and its failure can be found on Merck’s website ( under “Research and Development News”.

In Human Biology, 5th ed. (p. 215) we mention that a vaccine may be the only real hope of conquering AIDS once and for all. The failure of Merck's vaccine is a setback for AIDS research and for Merck, to be sure. But Merck’s vaccine was not the only AIDS vaccine under development; currently there are about 30 AIDS vaccines already in either Phase I or Phase II trials in humans.

And kudos to Merck for knowing when to give up this time! Perhaps they learned a lesson from their fiasco with Vioxx (see the Current Issue in Human Biology pp. 184-185). This is how good science is supposed to work - without bias based on financial interest.

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