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IAVI Applauds Thailand's Leadership in HIV Vaccine Search

July 08, 2002

BARCELONA, Spain, 8 July 2002 -- Seth Berkley, MD, president and chief executive officer of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), issued the following statement upon learning of Thailand's intention to move forward with the world's largest preventive HIV vaccine trial:

"From the beginning of this pandemic, Thailand has shown great courage and fortitude in confronting AIDS. Thailand was a world leader in promoting traditional HIV prevention measures such as condom use. It is fitting, therefore, that Thailand again leads the world in AIDS vaccine research.

"Vaccine development is an iterative science. The only way to determine whether a vaccine can prevent HIV transmission or delay the onset of AIDS is through the conduct of large-scale clinical trials.

"The world is grateful to Thailand for its decision to undertake the largest HIV vaccine prevention trial in history. This trial is a first in several respects. It is the first government sponsored HIV vaccine efficacy trial, and it is the first efficacy trial to evaluate the two-pronged, prime- boost vaccination approach.

"Even if this vaccine is not the ultimate answer, this trial will answer important scientific questions and allow us to make better and more powerful vaccines in the future. We salute Thailand's government and its people for their commitment to ending the global nightmare of AIDS."