September 24, 2009
New York, NY -- The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) greeted with excitement today's announcement by the U.S. Military HIV Research Program and the Thai Ministry of Public Health that, according to an initial analysis, a prime-boost combination of two AIDS vaccine candidates has shown partial efficacy in a phase III efficacy trial in Thailand. The prime-boost combination appeared to be about 31% effective at preventing infection with HIV.
"The outcome is very exciting news and a significant scientific achievement," said IAVI President and CEO Seth Berkley, "It's the first demonstration that a candidate AIDS vaccine provides benefit in humans. Until now, we've had evidence of feasibility for an AIDS vaccine in animal models. Now, we've got a vaccine candidate that appears to show a protective effect in humans, albeit partially."
Said Wayne Koff, IAVI Senior Vice President for Research and Development, "At the very least, these results give researchers a platform on which to improve and to validate animal models and assays, and a way to attract new investment and creative energy to the field of AIDS vaccine R&D."
Berkley added, "The outcome demonstrates the vital importance of testing AIDS vaccine candidates in human trials. Because HIV causes AIDS only in humans, we can only learn so much from animal models. We could not have learned what this study is going to teach us any way other than through clinical research, and we expect to learn a great deal."
IAVI congratulates the sponsors of the trial, the partners who conducted it, and the many volunteers who selflessly devoted themselves to the study on the successful completion of the trial through this long-term international collaboration.
IAVI looks forward to the more detailed data analysis that is underway and the discussions that will take place among policymakers, regulators, scientists, community members, and the partners associated with the trial about next steps given these results.
Official materials on the trial results can be found on the U.S. Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) website at http://www.hivresearch.org/