Friday, September 25, 2009

HIV Vaccine

By now you have probably heard the news.  HIV has been cured.  Well not quite but there are some promising results. In a press release put out by the NIH modest preventative effects were reported according to a clinical study done in Thailand funded by the NIH.

Cutting to the chase, the results are as follows: 74 of 8,198 people who received placebo shots became infected, while 51 of the 8,197 people who received the vaccine did not. It can be inferred from these results that the risk of being infected with HIV was reduced by 31% because of the vaccine. Though the numbers are significant and the test group is gigantic random effects can not be ruled out in explaining the difference of 23 individuals between placebo and vaccinated test groups. Cautious optimism is advisable however.

I've watched this story unfold in the mainstream with FOX just putting up the headline "Breakthrough" with a graphic of a syringe, more tempered coverage has come from CNN, but THE BEST coverage of this story comes from a top-notch radio program airing on BBC4 - Material World with Quentin Cooper. I don't think there is a quicker wit on the airways anywhere on the planet. Either Quentin has an amazing team of writers or he himself is gifted with an incredible talent for come backs and other lightning fast witticisms. Check out the entire program here. The following clip from WSJ is also a descent source on this story.

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