BANGKOK — For the first time, an experimental vaccine has prevented infection with the AIDS virus, a watershed event in the deadly epidemic and a surprising result. Recent failures led many scientists to think such a vaccine might never be possible.
The vaccine cut the risk of becoming infected with HIV by more than 31% in the world’s largest AIDS vaccine trial of more than 16,000 volunteers in Thailand, researchers announced Thursday in Bangkok.
A bit more details about the experiment:
The study tested the combo in HIV-negative Thai men and women ages 18 to 30 at average risk of becoming infected. Half received four “priming” doses of ALVAC and two “boost” doses of AIDSVAX over six months. The others received dummy shots. No one knew who got what until the study ended.
All were given condoms, counseling and treatment for any sexually transmitted infections, and were tested every six months for HIV. Any who became infected were given free treatment with antiviral medicines. Participants were followed for three years after vaccination ended.
According to the results: New infections occurred in 51 of the 8,197 given vaccine and in 74 of the 8,198 who received dummy shots. That worked out to a 31% lower risk of infection for the vaccine group.
I think this is fantastic news, but is it wrong for me to think that this would create a moral hazard? That more people would engage in sexual intercourse once this vaccine actually develops to be an effective deterrent of HIV infection?