HIV vaccine

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Cave Man, Sep 24, 2009.

  1. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

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    #1
  2. Veldek macrumors 68000

    Veldek

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    It's good to hear that there's finally something working, although there are several problems with this vaccine:

    1. 30% are not enough for an international recommendation (yet). 80% would be needed. Of course one can hope that it can be improved now.
    2. The test group might not have been big enough. Half of about 16,000 people got the vaccine, 51 from this group got ill, 74 from the other half.
    3. Worst thing is: the scientists don't know why it works. It's a combination of two other vaccines that didn't work for themselves. The combination now has a 30% success rate, but noone knows why...
    It's still a great success though, as it's the first time a vaccine worked anyway.

    Source (in German): http://www.rp-online.de/public/article/wissen/gesundheit/761850/Die-Probleme-des-neuen-Aids-Impfstoffs.html
     
  3. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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  4. barkomatic macrumors 68040

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    Exactly. Every few years there is a vaccine breakthrough that you never hear about again.
     
  5. eawmp1 macrumors 601

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    HIV, like influenza, evolves/genetically modifies quickly. A moving target will be hard to hit. However, ANY progress toward a vaccine is good news.
     
  6. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    Exactly why I don't see this ever being eradicated.
     
  7. .Andy macrumors 68030

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    From your German sources do they talk about whether this is statistically significant? I assumed (possibly wrongly) that they wouldn't publicise this trial if the results weren't statistically significant.

    This isn't really a problem. There are plenty of things in medicine that work that we don't know how they work. As long as they can be proven efficacious and have an adequate safety profile.
     
  8. Gelfin macrumors 68020

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    They're actually advertising for trial groups on buses around the city here. First time I've ever seen that. Might not mean anything.
     
  9. leekohler macrumors G5

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    And how does that work exactly? If it fails you end up with HIV?
     
  10. Gelfin macrumors 68020

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    Funny you mention that, and I wonder myself, but they clearly anticipated it because the sign says something to the effect of "you cannot get HIV from the trial."
     
  11. leekohler macrumors G5

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    OK, now I'm really confused. So how would they know it works? :confused:
     
  12. .Andy macrumors 68030

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    It's probably just a trial that they're recruiting a control population for.
     
  13. Cave Man thread starter macrumors 604

    Cave Man

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    The important thing about this trial is that, for the very first time, a vaccine has been demonstrated to prevent infection. This is remarkable in the sense that all other vaccines prevent disease, not infection. This is the "gold standard" of HIV vaccinology. I have not see the published findings (as it's a conference report), but my suspicion is that it's targeted towards the V3 domain of gp120 or gp41. The amino acids at these positions are highly invarient, which is why this is encouraging.
     
  14. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    Layman's terms please. I didn't get past Biology 101. ;) I know what a control group is, but I don't see how it fits in with this trial.
     
  15. Gelfin macrumors 68020

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    Got me. Maybe by drawing blood and testing in vitro?

    I admit I had a flash of concern that a few participants might unwisely overestimate their chances of ending up immune by participating in a trial, chances I'm assuming will in practice be similar to a "come in and let this radioactive spider bite you" trial.

    I'm sure they're lecturing, though.
     
  16. Cave Man thread starter macrumors 604

    Cave Man

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    These trials (usually phase 2 or 3) are based upon a statistical likelihood that some of the individuals will get infected just living their lives. By comparing those who get the vaccine vs. those who do not (using an at-risk group, such as gay men in the US or heterosexual persons in Africa), then if there's a statistical decrease in those who receive the vaccine it would be suggestive of protection.
     
  17. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    It could be a few different things. Firstly the trial Gelfin is alluding to is probably distinct from the one done in thailand mentioned by cave man in the OP.

    For a trail of vaccine efficacy you need to use a high-risk population which is why africa and se asia or groups like prostitutes are often used for vaccine trials. Recruiting people from a low risk population means that you would need hundreds of thousands of people in the trial (usually not feasible) for enough events to to happen to obtain statistically significant results.

    On the other hand there are lots of things that you can test in a low risk control population. For instance a survey of risky HIV behaviours i.e. unprotected sex, barrier contraceptive use, needle-sharing etc to guide public policy. Or if you're going down the biological path then as gelfin said you can use blood for in vitro work. Or alternatively test the side effects of a vaccine or new drugs in a healthy population (with remuneration of course). There's an infinite amount of studies one could do to understand HIV without direct studying it. Remember that the host is as important, if not more important the than virus itself in this infection :).
     
  18. Shivetya macrumors 65816

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    Doesn't remove HIV from bloodstream so are they essentially carriers? In other words, while they might not contract it they still cannot have safe contact?
     
  19. Cave Man thread starter macrumors 604

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    This vaccine appears to prevent infection. Without infected cells, one is protected from infection (and thus cannot transmit). They will have to improve efficacy for licensure, but this is the only vaccine in history that prevents infection. A good start, but a ways to go.
     
  20. Eraserhead macrumors G4

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    Well as i've been reading in a book called wisdom of the whores needle exchanges and accessible condom supplies and lube to the at risk groups (In most of the world: gays, sex workers and drug injectors) work pretty well.

    Sadly many countries don't like helping those people much.
     
  21. Veldek macrumors 68000

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    The only thing they say is that "the low number of patients at least requires a bigger test group".

    Good to hear :)

    There's one other thing I forgot to mention from the article: the vaccine only decreases the odds of getting the illness. Unlike other vaccines it doesn't soothe the course of it.
     
  22. leekohler macrumors G5

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  23. sushi Moderator emeritus

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    Agree.

    Agree.

    Another virus that needs work is the Herpes family of virus.

    The virus is our biggest threat to our survival. HIV has been around since the 50's or maybe earlier. We still don't have a cure or vaccine for it.

    Makes me wonder how bad the next one will be.
     
  24. Cave Man thread starter macrumors 604

    Cave Man

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    I feel the same way about alcohol, tobacco, fatty foods, etc., etc. We should ban all of those because they cause so many fatal diseases. :p
     

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