Thai-US partnership confirms renewed push on HIV vaccine
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.
"The Government of Thailand has given high priority to the HIV epidemic and we strongly believe that the development of an effective vaccine is possible. We are fully committed to playing a constructive role."
- Minister of Public Health of Thailand, H.E. Pradit Sintavanarong
"Some of our most exciting partnership work with Thailand has been on HIV. Today we have the opportunity to step our efforts up a notch, towards our united goal of an HIV-free generation."
- US Ambassador to Thailand, Kristie Kenney
"The Government of Thailand is showing important leadership in taking HIV vaccine research to the next step. This can be a win-win situation: for example, development of a manufacturing facility will provide opportunities not only for HIV vaccine production but also more broadly for other disease concerns."
- Col. Jerome Kim, Project manager on HIV vaccines and Principal Deputy of the US Military Research Programme within the US Army Medical Research and Material Command
"A vaccine is an essential component to getting to zero on HIV and it is important that this is happening in Thailand, building Southern capacity for development and manufacturing, and focusing efforts where they are most needed. To get to the end of AIDS, we cannot leave anybody behind – this partnership is putting that consideration at the centre of its work."
- UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Programme, Dr Luiz Loures