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Thai Government To Support HIV Vaccine Study

August 29, 2013
Committment marks important step to build on the success of the RV144 HIV vaccine trial in Thailand.

The Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Kingdom of Thailand announced their commitment to build on the success of the landmark RV144 Thai HIV vaccine study. The announcement was made at the AIDS Vaccine Efficacy Consortium (AVEC) Summit for an AIDS-Free Generation in Thailand on August 29, 2013.

An HIV vaccine efficacy trial conducted in Thailand, RV144, provided the first evidence in humans that a safe and effective preventive HIV vaccine is possible. Although efficacy was 31.2% at the end of the study, there was a higher early effect (60%) at 12 months. Researchers hope to improve and prolong the level of protection seen in RV144 through an additional boost and an improved vaccine. The Thai Government will take a leadership role by supporting a future HIV vaccine efficacy study and assist in establishing a flexible biologics manufacturing capability that could support the production of a registered HIV vaccine.

In 2012, a working group comprised of public and private organizations called the AIDS Vaccine Efficacy Consortium (AVEC) formed with the mission to accelerate the development and testing of a pox-protein HIV vaccine prime-boost regimen in Thailand. AVEC seeks to build an effective public-private partnership committed to providing the resources necessary for future HIV vaccine trials. Should the vaccine prove efficacious in clinical studies, AVEC Thailand is committed to ensuring public access to the HIV vaccine in Thailand.

The Summit attracted more than 150 international participants who discussed the UNAIDS "Three Zeros” goal for eradicating HIV/AIDS with a focus on the importance of developing a vaccine to prevent HIV infection. Attendees included international researchers, policymakers, business people, and civil society members engaged in work related to HIV prevention and vaccine manufacturing.

Thailand’s HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts have been recognized as among the world’s most successful. Although great progress has been made, HIV still affects large groups of people in Thailand who are at high-risk of contracting HIV infection. The Thai Ministry of Public Health has long recognized that an effective HIV vaccine, in the context of full HIV prevention and treatment efforts, will be required to eliminate AIDS in Thailand. 

The Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Kingdom of Thailand organized the Summit, along with the U.S. Embassy in Thailand and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, which has worked with the Government of Thailand on HIV vaccine research and development for more than 20 years. The Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also supported the event.