T-cell HIV vax still promising

The disastrous results of Merck's HIV vaccine trial--known as V520-- have called into question whether T-cell-based HIV-1 vaccines are a viable option for preventing the disease. But a study led by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center researchers finds that a T-cell-based vaccine should still be pursued by researchers.

"Despite the disappointing setbacks in HIV-1 vaccine development this past year, our findings suggest that we're not at the end of the road when it comes to T-cell vaccines," said the study's lead scientist Dan Barouch, MD, PhD. "Our data show that T-cell vaccines that elicit greater magnitude, breadth and quality of immune responses as compared with the Merck vaccine can result in improved protection in the rhesus monkey model of AIDS."

In 2007, Merck halted development of V520 when the vaccine proved to be ineffective. Further analysis showed that the jab actually increased infection rates in those who received it.

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