Us Experts Praise Thailand Government For Hiv Vaccine Trials

09.28.09 | FL News Team

U.S. health experts are praising the government of Thailand for helping conduct controversial trials for the only vaccine so far to show progress in stopping the virus that causes AIDS. The trials conducted by Thai health authorities, the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research involved testing an experimental combination of two failed HIV vaccines on more than 16-thousand Thai volunteers. Back in 2004, 22 prominent American scientists published a letter in "Science" magazine calling the trial a waste of money. The U.S. and Thai governments continued with the project despite the criticism. Donald Burke, who isolated one of the HIV strains used in the experimental vaccine, called it a difficult but courageous choice. He added, quote, "If I were to give any single group of people the credit, it would be the Ministry of Public Health of Thailand because it was a trial in Thai people."

 

U.S. Army Surgeon General Dr. Eric Schoomaker said the Thai government did a, quote, "remarkable job of recruiting volunteers and conducting this trial almost flawlessly." Researchers announced last week that the vaccine cut the risk of HIV infection by more than 30-percent over three years. The U.S. government invested 105-million dollars in the project.