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Aussie Vaccine
May 3, 2004

Your recent response regarding an Austrailan Vaccine question confused me. The website says that the people on the experimental drug were able to lower their VL by "6 times" vs. the placebo group. Why is that statistically insignificant. I would love to lower my VL by 6 times with no side effects or toxic complications. What am I missing.

Response from Dr. Pierone

The Australian vaccine study presented at the recent Retrovirus meeting was a small study that looked at a therapeutic vaccine approach with a fowlpox vector. There was no difference in vaccine recipients (versus placebo) in immune response against HIV (red flag here). A one log (10 fold) reduction in viral load would be considered very good for an antiretroviral or immune based treatment. A 6 fold reduction would be fine as well, but because of the small numbers of patients in the study, the authors could not be sure the reduction in viral load was not due to chance (viral loads tend to fluctuate quite a bit). Further studies are planned to see if this vaccine if a keeper.

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