â€œThe National Institutes of Health on Thursday halted a study testing an experimental HIV vaccine after an independent review board found the vaccine did not prevent HIV infection and did not reduce the amount of HIV in the blood,â€ Reuters reports (Steenhuysen, 4/25). â€œThe trial, known as HVTN 505, started in 2009 with 2,504 gay male volunteers in 19 cities who got three shots over eight weeks,â€ the New York Times notes (McNeil, 4/26). According to a statement from the NIH, the data and safety monitoring board that reviewed the study to date said â€œthere was a non-statistically significant increase in HIV acquisition among volunteers in the investigational vaccine group compared to those in the placebo group. It is not clear why this occurred and further analysis is needed to draw any firm conclusionsâ€ (4/25). The agency said it â€œis stopping vaccinations in the study, â€¦ but that researchers will continue to study the volunteersâ€™ health,â€ the Associated Press reports (Neergaard, 4/25). â€œNumerous HIV vaccine efforts, including one with a similar approach to the current trial, have failed to show a benefit,â€ but â€œ[r]esearchers continue to hunt for an immunization that can prevent infection,â€ Bloomberg writes (Cortez, 4/25).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.