The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (or NIAID) announced on Monday that a clinical trial for an HIV vaccine taking place in South Africa was halted after an independent data and safety monitoring board found the vaccine to be ineffective in preventing HIV.
Participants in the study were sexually active men and women aged 18 to 35 years. Experts expressed "deep disappointment" but added the search for a preventive HIV vaccine must continue. "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, director of the NIAID, said in a written statement. „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.
The National Institutes of Health has already invested in two other late-stage, multinational HIV vaccine trails, both testing a novel vaccine regimen, among other HIV prevention trials. As early as the mid-1980s, the US government was forecasting that Aids would be stopped by a vaccine but no effective vaccine has been discovered.