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Vector did not kill HIV trial

New findings have disproved a leading explanation for why an experimental HIV vaccine made subjects more susceptible to the virus, reopening the door for further HIV vaccine efforts based on similar principles. Human Immunodeficiency VirusImage: NIAIDThe Merck-funded STEP study, which used an adenoviral vector to deliver an HIV vaccine candidate, was halted in 2007 after the data suggested the vaccine increased the risk of HIV infection. Researchers thought the effect might be due to an immune

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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New findings have disproved a leading explanation for why an experimental HIV vaccine made subjects more susceptible to the virus, reopening the door for further HIV vaccine efforts based on similar principles.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus
Image: NIAID
The Merck-funded STEP study, which used an adenoviral vector to deliver an HIV vaccine candidate, was halted in 2007 after the data suggested the vaccine increased the risk of HIV infection. Researchers thought the effect might be due to an immune reaction to the viral vector, but two studies published online in Nature Medicine today show this is not the case. "Both of these papers show that's not a possible explanation," said molecular immunologist linkurl:David Weiner;http://www.med.upenn.edu/camb/faculty/gt/weiner.html of the University of Pennsylvania, who was not involved in the research. "Overall this is a positive and optimistic message for the field," said immunologist linkurl:Dan Barouch,;http://www.hms.harvard.edu/dms/virology/fac/Barouch.html chief of Harvard University's Division of Vaccine Research and the...




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