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"Merck's Experimental AIDS Vaccine Fails"

"In a disappointing setback, a promising experimental AIDS vaccine failed to work in a large international test, leading the developer to halt the study."

"Officials at the company, based in Whitehouse Station, N.J., said 24 of 741 volunteers who got the vaccine in one segment of the experiment later became infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In a comparison group of volunteers who got dummy shots, 21 of 762 participants also became infected."

""It's par for the course in the HIV field," he said of the Merck result."



wait so they gave them vaccines that gave them aids? Or where they given the vaccine then told to fuck as much as possible?


I would guess the former, and thats quite fucked up.

Where'd you find this?


They probably tested people who were HIV posative but had not yet developed the full onset of aids.

The average span of time for having been exposed to aids (hiv+) and developing the actual condition is about seven years, last time I checked.


At first glance this looks horrifying, suggesting that the test vaccine gave the group AIDS, although I don't believe that is what happened.

I'm no expert, but this is how I believe vaccine studies work:

-Researchers give volunteers dummy shots and tell the volunteers to live his or her life as they normally would. This, for some people, means screwing around without protection, sharing needles or however the person exposes themselves to the virus, and contracting a disease because of that. And researchers know this. Hence the 21 new cases of HIV out of the 762 dummy shot volunteers (these people don't know they are getting a dummy shot though.)

-Researchers also give the trial vaccine to a similar size group of volunteers, and once again, tell them to live their life as they normally would, knowing that a small percentage of those people will expose themselves to the HIV virus.

-Afterwards, the compare the two groups to see if the vaccine had statistically significant effect of preventing contraction of HIV. In this case, it did not.

Its really the only way to test the possible effectiveness of early vaccines without deliberately giving people the virus and "hoping for the best."

Unless I'm totally off base, and if I am then I just made a fool of myself.


All of the participants were AIDS free at the start of the trials, but came from groups at a high risk fro infections, such as gay men and female prostitutes. Both groups, experimental and control, were counseled repeatedly on safe sex practices and how to prevent HIV infection throughout the trial period.

The results showed that there was essentially no difference in the rate of infection between those who received the vaccine vs. those who did not. Human vaccine trials have to be performed in situ, you can not intentionally expose people to a disease to "see what happens".


Dont all vaccines contain a strain of the actual disease, usually a dormant or weak strain in an effort to "teach" your body how to fend it off? Maybe the aids vaccine wasnt as weak as they thought?or Maybe thats just how the the flu shot works, sorry im drunk and not a doctor.


Not all vaccines. Many of them, yes. Some actually inject completely dead virus. And there are some forms of vaccine (which I'm not very familiar with at all) that are being experimented with currently, or perhaps just being developed.

These involve injecting only the epitope, which is/are the piece(s) of virus that your antibodies ID and bind to start up the immune response. These new vaccines are the safest by far since they don't actually involve injecting the whole virus itself--there's no risk of infection.

However, to my knowledge these new ones are still only in the research phase.

It is possible, if the virus wasn't as weak as they thought, that the patients were actually infected by it. But I don't think any researchers would actually inject a vaccine for a virus with a 100% death rate if it wasn't totally dead already.


What Merck most likely did was to offer the experimental vaccine to at-risk populations in Africa and Asia and then retest them a few years later.

If this is what they did then I don't see it as particularly unethical.


I don't think the difference is significant. It's 3.2% for the vaccinated group v 2.8% for the dummy shot group infected. There's always going to be some variance, and the result is just that the vaccine did nothing.


Jimmy hat people, jimmy hat.
All the time, every time.