Miracle’ AIDS Vaccines Increase Infection
A massive blow was dealt to AIDS research last week when two “miracle” vaccines that were supposed to prevent AIDS failed spectacularly. Not only did the vaccines not work, they actually increased chances of getting the deadly virus.
In spite of the $500 million the United States government pours into AIDS research each year, advancements have been slow in coming, and failure of the two most promising trials may leave researchers starting from the beginning.
One vaccine was supposed to reduce infections, as well as to make the virus less deadly and contagious in those who already had it. Instead, the vaccine made people more susceptible to contracting the virus.
Both vaccines indicated that people who were vaccinated with the new vaccine were twice as likely to become infected with the AIDS virus.
“This is on the same level of catastrophe as the Challenger disaster that destroyed a NASA space shuttle,” said Robert Gallo, co-discoverer of the HIV virus.
Experts fear the future of AIDS research is bleak. “None of the products currently in the pipeline has any reasonable chance of being effective in field trials,” said Ronald Desrosiers, a molecular geneticist at Harvard University.
“We simply do not know at the present time how to design a vaccine that will be effective against HIV.”