HIV vaccine fails, government halts study

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A patient undergoes HIV testing. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

(LA TIMES) — In another major setback for efforts to develop a vaccine to boost immunity to the human immunodeficiency¬†virus, known as HIV, a key clinical trial was ordered shut down this week after an independent panel of safety experts found that participants getting the vaccine appeared to be slightly more likely to contract the virus and no better at suppressing its replication than those who got a placebo.

Investigators involved in recruiting volunteers and running the trial at 21 sites across the country, including the AIDS Research Alliance of America in Los Angeles, were ordered to stop immunizing volunteers with the genetically engineered HVTN 505 vaccine and to inform the subjects enrolled in the study whether they got the experimental vaccine or the placebo. Nearly 2,500 subjects participated — 1,250 men or transgender people who have sex with men got the investigational vaccine, while 1,244 received the placebo vaccine.

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