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"An extremely significant milestone".
December 21, 2011 2:37 PM   Subscribe

Researchers from the University of Western Ontario have announced the launch of human clinical trials of a preventative HIV vaccine.
posted by mhoye (23 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm assuming it's a good thing that this was developed at a university instead of a drug company... although I don't know much about how that affects marketing and such, so maybe it doesn't matter. I'd say fingers crossed, but that seems trite considering the possibilities here.
posted by Huck500 at 2:42 PM on December 21, 2011


I want to believe.
posted by Avenger at 2:42 PM on December 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


A press release before the beginning of Phase I clinical trials isn't significant news. There are a number of vaccines that have already completed Phases I, II, or III clinical trials or are in progress.
posted by grouse at 2:43 PM on December 21, 2011


I greet this news with high hopes and a huge grain of salt.
posted by lekvar at 2:48 PM on December 21, 2011


I'm pre-dreading the Fox News reaction to this ("Scientists want to give this gay drug to our kids!") so when it happens, the revulsion will already be over and I get into the hard work of informing friends and family how stupid they're being about it.
posted by JHarris at 2:48 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


A few extra thoughts:

1) HIV Vaccines have such a terrible, terrible let-down of a track record. I can easily imagine a scenario where this new vaccine is discovered to increase the risk of HIV.

2) Let's say, against all odds, that this vaccine is able to significantly reduce the risk of becoming infected with HIV or of developing AIDS. The social stigma associated with taking this shot would be ENORMOUS. Like, people would start calling it "the Gay Shot" or whatever. There would need to be concerted, worldwide education campaigns to try and get people to take the shot. Hell, imagine if the government tried to make it mandatory for school kids. People would literally be up in arms over that.

You think anti-vax hysteria is insane now, imagine when Obama announces that the guvmint wants to inject your babies with killed HIV. He (or whoever else is President) will have to double his bodyguard.

I want to believe that this is real. I want to believe that the end of AIDS is in sight. I just don't know if we, as human beings, are up to the task of destroying this very deadly, very powerful virus.
posted by Avenger at 2:50 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sumagen Co., Ltd is a Korean pharmaceutical venture company focusing on developing an HIV/AIDS vaccine and is a solely owned subsidiary of Curocom Co., Ltd. Sumagen is also supporting the ongoing research work at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, The University of Western Ontario (UWO) for and HCV (Hepatitis C Viru) vaccine.

Through Western, Sumagen Canada has secured patents for the vaccine in over 70 countries in the world, including the United States, the European Union and Korea.


From Grouse's link... so I guess that answers my question.

Also from the link:

According to Gary J. Nabel of the Vaccine Research Center, NIH, in Bethesda, Maryland, several hurdles must be overcome before scientific research will culminate in a definitive AIDS vaccine.[29] First, greater translation between animal models and human trials must be established.

So it's important, but not yet significant.
posted by Huck500 at 2:52 PM on December 21, 2011


Whoah. /keanu
posted by notsnot at 2:54 PM on December 21, 2011


We can cross the social stigma bridge (and any other such bridge) when we come to it. While I am not sure what the importance of this particular drug trial is, there is no reason for us to drag ourselves down by assuming uncrossable bridges. Millions of people across the world continue to get vaccinated against all sorts of diseases even as a vocal minority persists in opposition.
posted by vidur at 2:58 PM on December 21, 2011


Let's say, against all odds, that this vaccine is able to significantly reduce the risk of becoming infected with HIV or of developing AIDS. The social stigma associated with taking this shot would be ENORMOUS.
In the US, maybe. But in countries like Zimbabwe and South Africa, where more than 10% of adults are HIV positive? I think the issue would be access, not stigma.

But yeah, it's premature to celebrate yet.
posted by craichead at 3:00 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let's say, against all odds, that this vaccine is able to significantly reduce the risk of becoming infected with HIV or of developing AIDS. The social stigma associated with taking this shot would be ENORMOUS. Like, people would start calling it "the Gay Shot" or whatever.

I disagree. I think HIV is now understood as a massive global problem, not a "gay" disease, and I don't think it is viewed with the same stigma anymore. For this we can think the tireless activism of brave people in the '80s, '90s, and '00s.
posted by Sfving at 3:02 PM on December 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Let's say, against all odds, that this vaccine is able to significantly reduce the risk of becoming infected with HIV or of developing AIDS. The social stigma associated with taking this shot would be ENORMOUS. Like, people would start calling it "the Gay Shot" or whatever.

Hmm. You clearly haven't lived in a country then where you are advised to get a mutual AIDS-test before having sex with your new boy/girlfriend for the first time.
posted by New England Cultist at 3:12 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The social stigma associated with taking this shot would be ENORMOUS....You think anti-vax hysteria is insane now, imagine when Obama announces that the guvmint wants to inject your babies with killed HIV.

I think this is overly pessimistic. If it turns out it works it's nothing but good news. If some idiot decides they don't want to get it for idiotic reasons, it won't stop masses of other more sensible people from getting it. If I were a young single guy I'd probably want it. We were terrified of HIV when I grew up, the grown ups and their stories of HIV and AIDS scared lots of kids my age right out of having sex through our teen years.

Yeah...cuz they scared us, that's why I didn't get any in high school.
posted by Hoopo at 3:14 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


HIV Vaccines have such a terrible, terrible let-down of a track record. I can easily imagine a scenario where this new vaccine is discovered to increase the risk of HIV.

This has already happened with the V520 vaccine candidate.

The social stigma associated with taking this shot would be ENORMOUS. Like, people would start calling it "the Gay Shot" or whatever.

There probably wouldn't even be a need to vaccinate everyone globally (although I would get it, despite not being in a high risk group). If you vaccinated heavily in Sub Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and in the highest risk groups elsewhere (gay men, injecting drug users, sex workers, etc) then you'd probably cut transmission so much that new HIV infections in non-high risk populations would fall too.
posted by atrazine at 3:25 PM on December 21, 2011


The social stigma associated with taking this shot would be ENORMOUS. Like, people idiots would start calling it "the Gay Shot" or whatever. There would need to be a concerted, worldwide education campaign to try and get people idiots to take the shot. Hell, imagine if the government tried to make it mandatory for school kids. People Idiots would literally be up in arms over that.

Or we could just call the vaccine Darwin's Revenge.
posted by fullerine at 3:28 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let's say, against all odds, that this vaccine is able to significantly reduce the risk of becoming infected with HIV or of developing AIDS. The social stigma associated with taking this shot would be ENORMOUS. Like, people would start calling it "the Gay Shot" or whatever.

So, okay, this is really just a suggestion, but maybe we can find a cure or a vaccine, and verify that it works and it's safe, and it can and should be deployed widely, and then we can fight an endless culture war over it? Would that be okay with everyone?
posted by Tomorrowful at 3:31 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Also I'd be perfectly happy to have stupid culture wars about the vaccine for a while in the US while distributing it widely in, say, South Africa.)
posted by Tomorrowful at 3:34 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The social stigma associated with taking this shot would be ENORMOUS.

What, does it make you glow in the dark or something?
posted by dhartung at 3:56 PM on December 21, 2011


We already have the technology needed to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic. What's lacking is the political will and determination.
posted by docgonzo at 5:27 PM on December 21, 2011


(Also I'd be perfectly happy to have stupid culture wars about the vaccine for a while in the US while distributing it widely in, say, South Africa.)

Oh god do we really have to have the first to get the second?
posted by JHarris at 5:29 PM on December 21, 2011


I know this is still in development. I know. And yet, when I read stuff like this, all I can think is


YAY SCIENCE!
posted by Leta at 5:42 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


No thanks to Stephen Harper and his government.

As Xtra notes: "You may recall that the Harper government redirected funding from community AIDS services organizations toward building a new vaccine research facility, and that University of Western Ontario was one of the institutions competing to host the facility. You may also remember that last year, the Harper government quietly killed the vaccine research facility plan without restoring the community services organizations' funding, ostensibly because there weren't enough talented researchers in Canada.

*ahem*

The upshot of this is that if the vaccine is successful, it will be owned by a Korean venture capital company and manufactured in the United States, for want of our government's willingness to invest in promising and critical science and medical research."

See here for more details.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 8:48 AM on December 22, 2011


Wow, fuck me.
posted by Eideteker at 10:19 AM on December 22, 2011


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