Researchers hopeful for world's largest HIV vax study

Researchers are set to present results from the world's largest HIV vaccine trial tomorrow. In the U.S.-funded study, scientists have tried to revive two HIV vaccine candidates dropped by Sanofi-Aventis and VaxGen after failing separate trials.

The study was conducted in two Thai provinces struggling with the country's highest rates of HIV, Bloomberg reports. The 16,000 participants were given four doses of Sanofi's ALVAC vaccine and two of VanGen's AIDSVAX over six months. Volunteers, who were monitored for an additional three years, were also advised on safe sex practices and provided condoms.

Many are skeptical but remain hopeful the trial will point researchers in the right direction. Marie-Paule Kieny, director of the World Health Organization's Initiative for Vaccine Research in Geneva, tells Bloomberg, "I don't think there is a lot of expectation that the efficacy of this vaccine will be very high. Any hint towards identifying something which is protective in humans would be good news."

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