HIV Vaccine Trial Justified

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Science  13 Feb 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5660, pp. 961
DOI: 10.1126/science.1096161

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In this Policy Forum, the authors respond to Burton et al. by asserting that the ongoing efficacy trial of ALVAC-HIV (vCP1521) and AIDSVAX B/E in Thailand is scientifically justified, morally correct, and strategically important. No laboratory assay or animal model has been validated as a predictor of the efficacy of HIV vaccines in humans, thus efficacy trials are essential to test bona fide vaccine hypotheses. Although there is a real chance that the prime-boost combination may not be efficacious, there is a very high probability that information gained will significantly advance HIV vaccine development. Established scientific principles and appropriate processes fully support the decision to proceed with this efficacy trial.