HIV Vaccine Trial Shut Down For Being Completely IneffectiveS

Bad news: federal researchers shut down that HIV vaccine clinical trial everyone was super amped on after safety experts found that volunteers who took the experimental vaccine were actually slightly more likely to contract HIV than those who got a placebo. Well, fuck.

21 sites across the country that ran trials on men or transgender people who have sex with men were ordered earlier this week to stop at once and tell the 2,500 people who had already participated whether they got the vaccine or the placebo, the Los Angeles Times reports.

It's not as if the vaccine was seriously infecting people; the difference in infection risk between the vaccine group and the placebo group could have been a matter of chance, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which developed the HVTN 505 vaccine and launched the advanced clinical trial in 2009. But the data didn't show that the vaccine was or would ever actually reduce one's risk of HIV infection, and a three-shot regime regimen didn't help people who were already infected, as was hoped, either. The vaccine also failed to reduce the viral load of the 41 volunteers (from 1,250 who received the vaccine) who became infected after they enrolled in the trial.

"This is quite a substantial disappointment," said Dr. Scott Hammer, one of the trial's principal investigators. But, he said, "we've learned from every clinical efficacy trial we've done. We've had good and bad news, but each one takes us a little closer in terms of what to pursue and not to pursue."

[LA Times]