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For first time, AIDS virus vaccine effective in trial

In a trial involving more than 16,000 volunteers, an experimental vaccine cut the risk of becoming infected with HIV by more than 31%, offering hope for a breakthrough.

September 24, 2009|Associated Press

BANGKOK — For the first time, an experimental vaccine has prevented infection with the AIDS virus, a watershed event in the deadly epidemic and a surprising result.

The vaccine cut the risk of becoming infected with HIV by more than 31% in the world's largest AIDS vaccine trial, involving more than 16,000 volunteers in Thailand, researchers announced today in Bangkok.

Even though the benefit is modest, "it's the first evidence that we could have a safe and effective preventive vaccine," Col. Jerome Kim said in a telephone interview. He helped lead the study for the U.S. Army, which sponsored it with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The institute's director, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned that this is "not the end of the road," but said he was surprised and very pleased by the outcome.

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