Federal researchers shut down the latest trial for an HIV vaccine, which proved unsuccessful when administered to men and transgender people who have sex with men.
Nearly 2,500 people took part in the study, with about half given the HVTN 505 vaccine and the others receiving a placebo. Those with the vaccine actually contracted HIV in greater numbers than those with the placebo. Also disconcerting was that the vaccine, administered in three shots, did not slow the replication of HIV in people once they were infected nor reduce their viral load.
Still, Columbia University virologist Scott Hammer, a principal investigator on the trial, says the trial still produced information that can be used in other vaccine trials (this is one of several vaccine trials that proved unsuccessful).
"We've learned from every clinical efficacy trial we've done," Hammer told the Los Angeles Times. "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."
A new vaccine trial starts next year in southern Africa.