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Aids vaccine trial to go on another year


The HIV/Aids vaccine trial has been extended for another year due to the difficulty of finding enough volunteers to meet the target, a project director said yesterday.

Supachai Rerks-ngarm, who is also principal investigator at the Department of Disease Control, said the experiment will continue until September next year instead of this year as originally planned, so that more volunteers can be recruited.

The trial, which is in its third and most important stage, is aimed at finding about 16,000 volunteers in Chon Buri and Rayong.

They will be given either a vaccine or a placebo over a one-year period and then health authorities will monitor their progress for three years. It is hoped the test will shed light on an effective treatment for those suffering from the virus.

Only 6,000 people in the two eastern provinces have joined the programme and 4,000 have been injected with the vaccine.

The US-funded Aids vaccine trial started in Thailand last September. Volunteers receive an injection of the so-called prime-boost test, which is a combination of two vaccines - Alvac of France-based Aventis Pasteur and AidVAX B/E made by the California-based VaxGen Inc.

Chief of the Disease Control Department, Charal Trinvuthipong, blamed ineffective public relations campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of the project, for failure to convince Aids patients to become volunteers.

The same problem was also identified by a team of researchers from the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Science which visited the areas in February to assess progress.

It recommended that communities in the two provinces be given more information about the programme.

The progress of the third-phase trial will also be discussed at the July 11-17 International Aids Conference in Bangkok.


Copyright © 2004 -Bangkok Post, Publisher. All rights reserved to The Bangkok Post. Reproduction of this article (other than one copy for personal reference) must be cleared through the Bangkok Post.

Information in this article was accurate in June 23, 2004. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.