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"A world first: Vaccine helps prevent HIV infection"


Source: CTV.CA

Published: 24 Sep 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (3½ stars)

Keywords: hiv aids vaccine third world

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Experts are calling it a major breakthrough in the fight against AIDS. Scientists are reporting that an experimental vaccine offers "modest" protection from HIV infection.

A study testing a new vaccine on more than 16,000 volunteers in Thailand found that the shot cut the risk of becoming infected with HIV by more than 31 per cent...

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 6 of 9
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Applicable
Evidence Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

This is a relatively informative story that presents what is surprising research about advancements in HIV treatment options.

The study tested a new vaccine on more than 16,000 volunteers in Thailand and found that a combination of previously existing vaccines reduced the risk of becoming infected with HIV by more than 31 per cent. While these results sounded impressive, the story went on to explain the meaning of those relative numbers- "three years after the vaccinations ended, there were 51 new infections among the 8,197 given the vaccine, while there were 74 infections among the 8,198 who received dummy shots. That worked out to a 31 per cent lower risk of infection for the vaccine group."

While several elements of these stories were well addressed, there was little information provided in regards to other treatment options. The article states that previous "work on HIV vaccines have all ended in failure". This bold statement limited the discussion around other preventative treatments and the provision of potential comparative information.

Furthermore, there was no mention whatsoever about the harms of receiving this vaccine. Altering the immune system can have catastrophic consequences, particularly when introducing viruses from other species (one of the components uses a "bird virus"). Some of the study spokes-people were careful to say that much more work needs to be done to determine the utility of these kinds of vaccines, however, a discussion of the preliminary side effects would have been useful to avoid hype around this preventative treatment.

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