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The Result of Thai HIV Vaccine Trial

Asian People’s Alliance for Combating HIV and AIDS (APACHA) welcome the result of the Thai HIV vaccine trial with cautious optimism.

APACHA particularly congratulates Dr. Supachai Rerks–Ngarm, M.D., of the Thai Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Disease Control, the principal investigator of the study which was sponsored by the U.S. Army in collaboration with NIAID, Sanofi Pasteur and GSID.

While acknowledging the importance of the need for sustained clinical trials, it is unfortunate that the detail of the outcome of the trial, including the data and methods of such an important study is not widely available in the public domain for review and further analysis.

The news about the result of the Vaccine trial should not distract the efforts of the governments and the civil society to address the vulnerability of people who are at the greater risk of HIV infection and real issues faced by the people living with and affected by HIV.

An HIV vaccine will definitely add additional ammunition to our fight against the social determinants and social consequences of HIV infection. However, HIV vaccine will not provide a– single magic bullet– solution to HIV epidemic.

APACHA Believes, the real heroes of this trial are the 16,402 men and women who participated in this trial and the researchers lead by Dr. Supachai Rerks–Ngarm. The patent rights and the intellectual rights of the data and other potential outcome of this trial should be shared with the trial participants as well.

The result of the study is a very important step towards the fight against HIV. However, we are concerned about the lack of public access to the scientific data of this study said, Prof, Joe Thomas. Chair person of APACHA.

APACHA believes, normally such a discovery should have been presented for a publication in peer reviewed journals and the press release should have done when the findings of the study is published. So that the data and method of the study should have been in the public domain for analysis and review.

“We overwhelmingly applaud the news about the result of the clinical trial. We may be writing to the Ministry of Health of the Royal Thai Government, requesting to take necessary steps to present the data of this trial in the public domain”. Said, Dr. Noor ul Zaman Rafiq Co Chairperson of APACHA.

It seems, the trial focused on B and E subsets of the viral strain that are common in Thailand. APACHA would like to see, the efficacy of the present vaccine combination being tested among other population groups exhibiting different viral epidemiology.

Due to lack of access to the trail data in the public domain, many aspects of the trial results are unclear. Researchers must explain to the general public on how the drug combination worked and whether one part was more effective than the other and will the same combination of the vaccine is effective to other viral subtypes as well?.

We request the concerned UN agencies to acknowledge the work of Dr. Supachai Rerks–Ngarm, the principal investigator of this study and to ensure that the data and the details of this study is available in the public domain at the earliest so that independent review and analysis of the data could be done.
APACHA request UNAIDS, to urgently develop certain minimum standards for their press releases– reporting the findings of such important discoveries in the field of HIV response in future.

APACHA is the largest multi sectoral, civil society network of HIV and AIDS response in Asia. www.apachanet.org

For further details please contact. Dr. Anita Manandhar Interim Coordinator of APACHA

APACHA International Secretariat
Madhur Marg, Chun Devi
House no 23 P O Box: 7647
Kathmandu, Nepal
Phone: 00977–1–4721277, 4721278, 4720926
Email: secretariat.asia@apachanet.org
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Source: APACHA Press release

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