U.S. Halts Largest HIV Vaccine Trial on Treatment Failure

The largest and most advanced study under way of a vaccine to prevent HIV infection was stopped by U.S. government researchers after an interim look at the data showed it was unlikely to help recipients.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said it will no longer give the injection, a combination of a DNA-based vaccine to prime the immune system and a booster shot with a weakened virus carrying genetic material that expressed HIV antigens. The vaccine didn’t prevent HIV infection or reduce the amount of virus in those who became infected, the agency said in a statement.

The vaccine was developed by the agency’s Vaccine Research Center. Volunteers who received the active vaccination unexpectedly had higher rates of HIV than those given a placebo, though the difference wasn’t large enough to rule out a chance finding, the agency said. The researchers will follow those who participated in the trial, which started in 2009, to see if other differences develop.


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