On 29 August at the AIDS Vaccine Efficacy Consortium (AVEC) Summit for an AIDS-Free Generation in Thailand, a Thailand-United States partnership working on the development of an HIV vaccine has announced its commitment to build on the success of previous trials, giving a renewed push to vaccine research.
In 2009, the landmark RV144 Thai vaccine study - jointly developed by the Thai health ministry and US military researchers - proved the first evidence in humans that a safe and effective preventive HIV vaccine is possible. Results of the RV144 found 31.2% efficacy at the end of the study among 16 000 Thai volunteers.
Building on this, researchers will work to improve the levels of protection found previously and conduct additional trials in Thailand over the coming years, focusing on key populations at higher risk of infection, including men who have sex with men. The aim of the on-going research is that a modified version of the vaccine would raise the protection rate to around 50% - the figure needed to obtain regulatory approval for public release.
The Thai Government will take a leadership role by supporting the future HIV vaccine efficacy study and assisting in the establishment of flexible manufacturing systems and infrastructure that could support the production of a registered HIV vaccine.