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HIV Vaccine Trial Canceled Over Possible Volunteer Risk

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The sponsors of a planned human trial for an AIDS vaccine canceled the project Thursday, saying they doubted the vaccine's effectiveness and noted that the trial could actually put volunteers at risk of acquiring HIV, The New York Times reported.

The trial, called PAVE (Partnership for AIDS Vaccine Evaluation), was to be conducted by a consortium of U.S. agencies and private organizations. It was to have begun enlisting 8,500 volunteers last October to evaluate a vaccine developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The trial was shelved, however, after a similar vaccine developed by Merck & Co. failed to prevent the infection and lower blood levels of HIV among people who had already acquired the AIDS-causing virus, the newspaper said.

Data from the Merck vaccine trial also suggested that the shot might have increased some users' risk of acquiring an HIV infection.

Attempts to create an effective HIV/AIDS vaccine have been in the making for more than 25 years, and developing one still appears years away, scientists told the Times.

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