Scientists Project Successful AIDS Vaccine Within Few Years

At an ill-fated press conference in 1984, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler boldly predicted an effective AIDS vaccine would be available within just two years.

A 2009 clinical trial in Thailand was the first to show it was possible to prevent HIV infection in humans. Since then, discoveries have pointed to even more powerful vaccines using HIV-fighting antibodies. Now scientists believe a licensed vaccine is within reach.

The research consortium was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), founded in 2005 by the National Institutes of Health to identify and overcome roadblocks in the design of vaccines for the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS. NIAID’s funding of CHAVI ended in June.


The Thai study tested Sanofi’s ALVAC, a weakened canary pox virus used to sneak three HIV genes into the body, and AIDSVAX, a vaccine originally made by Roche Holding’s Genentech that carried an HIV surface protein. Results of the study published in 2009 showed the vaccine combination cut HIV infections by 31.2 percent. According to many other experts, the result was not big enough to be considered effective, but its impact on researchers was huge, says Wayne Koff, chief scientific officer of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) based in New York.

Preparations are under way for a follow-up trial testing beefed-up versions of the vaccines among heterosexuals in South Africa and men who have sex with men in Thailand. Once again, the trial will use a Sanofi vaccine, but instead of AIDSVAX, researchers will use a different vaccine candidate with a boosting agent from Novartis. The teams still need to retool the vaccines to work in South Africa, where the strain of HIV is different.

How bad is the prevalence of AIDS in your area? Do you think scientists could indeed come up with a licensed AIDS vaccine by 2019?

Source: Yahoo News

Image: Top News

Novartis Recalls Medicines Due to Mislabeled and Broken Pills

Pharmaceutical company Novartis on Sunday voluntarily recalled a number of over-the-counter drugs — including certain bottles of Excedrin and Bufferin — because of complaints about mislabeled and broken pills.

The Switzerland-based company said on its website that “there have been no related adverse (health) events” related to the problems. At the same time, it urged U.S. consumers to “either destroy or return unused” products that are part of the recall.

The items involved in the voluntary recall include Excedrin and NoDoz products with expiration dates of December 20, 2014, or earlier, as well as Bufferin and Gas-X Prevention products with December 20, 2013, or earlier expiration dates. The moves follows Novartis’ decision to suspend operations at, and shipments from, its Lincoln, Nebraska, facility. The company said this was done “to accelerate maintenance” and make other improvements, adding that it currently “is not possible” to determine when the plant will reopen.

While Novartis announced Sunday’s recall, it said that it did so “with the knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.” This came about after an internal review and assessment of complaints identifying “issues such as broken gelcaps, chipped tablets and inconsistent bottle packaging.”

In its news release, Novartis said that the recall and processing upgrades would cost an estimated $120 million, which will be assessed in the fourth quarter of 2011. The number of pills affected by the recall was not released. More information will be announced Monday, Novartis said.

 

Source: CNN

Image: Komo News