Feds halt HIV vaccine human trial in latest setback

Federal officials have opted to halt plans to advance a promising new HIV vaccine into a large human trial after deciding they just don't know enough about how it and other such vaccines works--or how the vaccine might affect the human immune system. The decision by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, fits into the his explicit opinion--stated repeatedly in recent weeks--that researchers need to go back and do fundamental research work on HIV vaccines.

The decision follows the research community's consensus that the recent fiasco involving Merck's HIV vaccine--which evidently raised health risks for volunteers--underscored just how little they have progressed over the past 24 years. NIAID helped pay for the Merck trials.

"Show me that the vaccine works by lowering the amount of HIV in the blood," Dr. Fauci said in a New York Times article. "Then we will move to a larger trial that will document the link with a particular immune response." He added that until then, "doing a large trial is not justified."

- read the article in the New York Times