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Advocacy Group Voices Disappointment: Calls for Reinvigorated Effort to Design and Test AIDS Vaccines

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November 12, 2003

NEW YORK - The AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC) today expressed disappointment that the second Phase III trial of an AIDS vaccine did not show efficacy of the candidate vaccine, AIDSVAX. The trial tested AIDSVAX among 2,546 injection drug users in Thailand.


"We are disappointed that AIDSVAX alone did not prove efficacious in this population in Thailand," said Chris Collins, Executive Director of AVAC. "This trial was not a failure because it tested a product and produced a result. More efficacy trials like the Thai AIDSVAX trial need to be run. Sometimes the results from those trials will be disappointing, but all of us need to be prepared for the long haul to find a vaccine against the biggest infectious disease killer."

The Thai trial tested AIDSVAX B/E, a version of the vaccine modeled after two strains of HIV - the "B" strain and "E" strain - both found in the Thai population.

"Now is the time to reinvigorate AIDS vaccine research," Collins said. "Research funding is still woefully inadequate, industry must become more engaged, global clinical trials capacity is insufficient, and there are no real plans to make an AIDS vaccine universally accessible."

"AVAC applauds the continuing leadership of the Thai government on AIDS prevention, treatment and research, as well as the contributions of the thousands of individuals enrolled in the AIDSVAX trial," Collins said. "VaxGen's accomplishment should not be underestimated. Twenty-two years into the epidemic, the company sponsored the first AIDS vaccine efficacy trials and it demonstrated these trials could be completed successfully."

AVAC is an eight year old community and consumer based advocacy organization dedicated to accelerating the ethical development and global delivery of vaccines against AIDS. The organization is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, Until There's a Cure Foundation, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the Gill Foundation, and many generous AVAC Members. More information on AVAC and the AVAC Report are available at http://www.avac.org/.