China develops effective AIDS vaccine…?

Now that would be big news. And I wouldn’t put it past them – they’ve shown extrarodinary ingenuity in coming up with treatments for malaria and other diseases.

China’s Ministry of Science and Technology has announced it has discovered a viable AIDS vaccine.

China’s state-run television made the announcement Friday and broadcast a news conference with members of the science ministry.

Forty-nine healthy people received the vaccine and showed no serious reactions, according to Chinese researchers. The recipients appeared to be immune to the HIV-1 virus 15 days after the injection.

These results are from the first phase of the clinical trial. Researchers will continue with second and third trial phases.

This will certainly be one to watch carefully.

The Discussion: 5 Comments

Sorry to be pessimistic, but this is just meaningless. There have been more than 50 phase 1 clinical trials of potential HIV vaccines and only four have been worth following up to phase 2, and even those are stuggling to show any clinically relevant effects. A trial in 40-50 volunteers showing that a vaccine is safe is really nothing new. I suspect China is just trying to deflect attention from its dismal record on HIV now being highlighted at the International HIV conference in Toronto

August 19, 2006 @ 8:41 am | Comment

Well, I put the question mark in the headline because whenever things sound too good to be true….especially when they’re reported in People’s Daily.

However, I don’t think they’d do this to deflect attention from their AIDS record – no one is paying attention to it anyway – it’s old news, and besides, they have made some signficant inroads in generating AIDS awareness, and the estimates of 5 years ago of 10 million AIDS victims in China by 2010 have been drastically reduced. We’ll just have to wait and see. Meanwhile, the story is being picked up worldwide, and China’s going to look mighty dumb to a whole lot of people if this is just more propaganda.

August 19, 2006 @ 8:53 am | Comment

By the way, the artemesin malaria treatment you mentioned was developed by western researchers (The Wellcome Trust) working in Thailand, based on a traditional Chinese remedy. As for beating people with sticks – I don’t think there’s a great deal of evidence to back that up as an effective treatment for malaria. China deserves credit for its early public health measures [since abandoned] that eliminated the source of malaria – the mosquito breeding grounds, but not for developing any modern drugs against the disease.

August 19, 2006 @ 8:55 am | Comment

In the 1960s a research program was set up by the Chinese army to find an adequate treatment for malaria. In 1972, in the course of this research, Tu Youyou discovered artemisinin in the leaves of Artemisia annua. The drug is named qinghaosu (青蒿素) in Chinese.


August 19, 2006 @ 8:09 pm | Comment

China has quite a few promising remedies based on traditional medicine.But they will not be widely accepted internationally unless they are developed more scientifically. Japan has been using Chinese mushrooms for many years as an anti-cancer treatment, but only now is there any serious research being done (in Japan) into the active ingredients.Unfortuantely China invests very little in medical R&D, relying more on copying the advances of other nations.

August 20, 2006 @ 1:57 am | Comment

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