Tuesday, September 23, 2008

HIV/AIDS: "Resetting Priorities"

This graphic from the below article provides no useful information :-)

There is a great story that can be found here on the cover of Chemical and Engineering News about the hunt for an HIV/AIDS vaccine and the reason the most recent attempts have either failed or been pulled. It's a great rundown of what's been going down and why, excactly, our two most recent "hopeful" attempts -- the 2003 AIDSVax and the more recent (2007) Merck trials -- failed and changed the way we consider the process of searching for a vaccine.

It's really a science laden article, but I think it can be easily understood from a lay perspective. But the final lines are especially poignant:
"Developing and delivering an HIV vaccine," Bernstein says, "has to be a global effort, and that's where the enterprise uniquely comes in because we're charged with bringing together people from all over the world—whether they are funders, scientists, governments, advocates, or industry—to work together."

Vaccine development has always relied heavily on empiricism. And even when successful, it has more often than not taken several decades to create a vaccine after finding the cause of a disease. "This is going to be a long haul," Bernstein says. "There are no quick wins, and we should stop thinking and planning like there are."

Anyways, check it out. Here is a break down of all the previous attempts and how they fared in FDA trials (btw --> Phase III is the final phase before general usage; Phase IV "trials" is seeing what happens in the general population...):

PS This is especially interesting in the context of this blog as I talked about the Merck failure exactly a year ago here. Weird. I can now back-quote myself.

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