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AIDS Vaccine Is Partially Successful

CmdrTaco posted about 5 years ago | from the not-sure-thirty-percent-is-gonna-cut-it dept.

Biotech 317

ifchairscouldtalk writes "A Phase III 'RV 144' study in Thailand succeeded in reducing HIV infection rate in trial with 31.2% effectiveness. The study was conducted by the Thailand Ministry of Public Health and used strains of HIV common in Thailand. It is not clear whether the vaccine, which combines AIDSVAX with Aventis Pasteur ALVAC-HIV canarypox vector, known as 'vCP1521,' would work against other strains in the United States, Africa or elsewhere. Strangely, the vaccine had no effect on levels of HIV in the blood of those who did become infected, providing 'one of the most important and intriguing findings' of the trial, according to Dr Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is one of the trial's sponsors."

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Thumbs up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29529615)

THIS is a real finding people. THIS is helping people. Swine flu vaccine is manipulating people. Gullible fucking sheep.

Re:Thumbs up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29529697)

Helping queer's and druggy's.

Re:Thumbs up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29529893)

There is only one cure for AIDS. If you are tested positive for HIV, total quarantine for the rest of your life (with everyone else with HIV).

Libya is a good choice of locations.

Re:Thumbs up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29530011)

Yes! Now I feel more confident when I take Rob's tiny pecker up my ass and swallow his load. Bring on the cum, baby! Wooo

Lulz (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29529625)

". They then got regular tests for the AIDS virus for three years. Of those who got placebos, 74 became infected, while only 51 of those who got the vaccines did. Although the difference was small, Dr. Kim said it was statistically significant and meant the vaccine was 31.2 percent effective." It doesn't mean anything. too small of a sample. anyways, point is, someone do some analysis on the statistics and tell us all something and get +5

Re:Lulz (2)

Ultra64 (318705) | about 5 years ago | (#29529681)

You should go teach the doctors and scientists what they are doing wrong.

Re:Lulz (-1, Troll)

4D6963 (933028) | about 5 years ago | (#29529747)

It doesn't mean anything. too small of a sample

No you dumb cunt, if you had any clue what you're talking about you'd know it is comfortably significant. Can't do the math to tell you the precise odds because I forgot how, but it's big enough to tell you that it works for sure.

Re:Lulz (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29529801)

Uhh no retard, this wasn't even remotely a controlled experiment. Unless they exposed all of the participants to HIV, how can you make any real conclusions about the effectiveness of the vaccine?

Re:Lulz (3, Insightful)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | about 5 years ago | (#29529953)

It would be unethical to expose all participants to HIV. They did the next best thing.

There's nothing wrong with the basic idea of the study design. Of course, they may have fucked it up, but that's a different situation.

Re:Lulz (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 5 years ago | (#29530059)

The next best thing was to give a placebo such that the control group would be confident in their new-found immunity to HIV, at least as much as the experimental group. Otherwise the control would use more condoms because they're not on the experimental vaccine. This should have been controlled against a normal group with a similar profile as well, and another with a similar profile but specifically taken to safe sex practices.

Re:Lulz (4, Informative)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | about 5 years ago | (#29530219)

Didn't the article say that one group got a vaccine, and the other got a placebo?

"Col. Jerome H. Kim, a physician who is manager of the armyâ(TM)s H.I.V. vaccine program, said half the 16,402 volunteers were given six doses of two vaccines in 2006 and half were given placebos."

Oh yea, that's what it said.

I don't see anything wrong with the basic kind of study. As I said, they may have fucked it up somehow, such as fucking up the selection of the participants and grouping them.

And why would they want to control against additional groups? They're measuring one thing. How effective is the vaccine. Your proposal to control against other groups are actually separate studies. They can and should be run independently at first. I can totally understand them not wanting to add complexity to a study that already has more than 16,000 participants.

So, I still don't see any valid objection as to why this kind of study won't work or is flawed somehow. In fact, this basic type of study is done all the time.

Re:Lulz (-1, Flamebait)

4D6963 (933028) | about 5 years ago | (#29530027)

Dude, just shut the fuck up and read about the laws of large numbers/statistics in general because that's all it's about. I don't see how anyone can fail to see that the fact that people weren't systematically infected has no statistical relevance. Fucking morons. I understand why you're posting as AC.

Re:Lulz (4, Informative)

kdawgud (915237) | about 5 years ago | (#29529771)

The sample sizes were not 74 and 51. The sample size of people vaccinated was "more than 16,000 volunteers". 74 and 51 were just the number of people infected, which is still statistically significant. [to what confidence level, I do not know].

Statistics [Re:Lulz] (5, Informative)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 5 years ago | (#29529789)

someone do some analysis on the statistics and tell us all something and get +5

Sure. It's Poisson statistics [gsu.edu] , so the standard deviation is the square root of the count.
placebo: 74 plus or minus 8.6
vaccine: 51 plus or minus 7.1

The statistical significance of the difference (23) is equal to the standard deviation of the sum (not the difference!) of the counts, so:

difference between placebo and vaccine:
23 (=31%) plus or minus 11
= (2.06 standard deviations)

Assuming they set their criteria for statistical significance at two standard deviations, then they are significant.

Re:Statistics [Re:Lulz] (5, Informative)

Harlan879 (878542) | about 5 years ago | (#29530097)

Yes, although there's an issue of multiple comparisons. There have been a fair number of HIV vaccine trials over the years. This is the first that's found statistically significant results. But if you were to test 20 different non-effective vaccines at a 5% significance level, you'd expect one of the tests to be significant just by chance. This is certainly an intriguing result, but it could be an outlier, and must be replicated.

Re:Statistics [Re:Lulz] (1, Flamebait)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 5 years ago | (#29530181)

When was the last time you heard of a study where the resutls weren't statistically significant. At this point, I ask whether the property of statistical significance is itself statistically significant.

Re:Statistics [Re:Lulz] (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29530199)

While your analysis is correct it is actually an approximation since a Poisson distribution is not Gaussian. This particular problem actually has it's own set of exact statistical tests; for a reference see here: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2289537?cookieSet=1

Using a two-tailed Liddell's Exact test the significance is p=0.039 (assuming 8000 people in each group).

Re:Lulz (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 5 years ago | (#29529905)

Why is it that on slashdot of all places that should be full of nerds we get idiots that don't grasp basic statistics and people that mod it up? As long as you got a proper control group it's simple to say "If we assume the true probability is the same, how unlikely is it that we get these results?" Of course there's something about the level of confidence - a 99% confidence means there's a 1% your observation is random fluctuations. But the whole "we reject math and logic because the numbers feel to small" sounds like the results of retarded anti-schooling.

Re:Lulz (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 5 years ago | (#29530045)

we get idiots that don't grasp basic statistics...

Because not all of us have had statistics. I won't be taking my statistics class until next year and that's only because I'm going back to school to add to my degrees.

While I understand the basics of statistics and how they are generated, don't ask me to do any computations.

Then again, some people are simply beyond help when it comes to accepting facts or well established principles.

Re:Lulz (1)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | about 5 years ago | (#29530063)

But the whole "we reject math and logic because the numbers feel to small" sounds like the results of retarded anti-schooling.

Welcome to America, here's your churro.

HIV Vaccine (5, Informative)

catmandi (995992) | about 5 years ago | (#29529631)

I'm not normally a stickler for these, but AIDS is a syndrome, HIV is the virus that causes it. The vaccine can prevent you from acquiring HIV and thence from developing AIDS. It's not a cure, it's a preventative measure.

Re:HIV Vaccine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29529713)

Nothing in the summary says anything about a cure, what are you talking about?

Vaccines generally aren't effective as cures, but always as preventative measures. Why do you think most vaccines are required to be administered at a younger age? We want that immunity quickly.

What is interesting about this is that it did have some effectiveness, even if further study is called for. What I fear though is that there are too many mutations of the virus present to be able to generalize a vaccine for the entire world. Region-specific vaccines perhaps, and even these would help stifle the transmission of the disease, but still.

Re:HIV Vaccine (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29529783)

The grandparent is disputing the 'AIDS vaccine' nomenclature. This is a vaccine against HIV, not against AIDS. Given that AIDS is a syndrome that is caused by HIV, something that vaccinated against AIDS would have to be a cure for HIV because people can have HIV for years before they develop AIDS.

Re:HIV Vaccine (0, Flamebait)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 5 years ago | (#29529759)

You're either a stickler or a natural-born pedant.

It doesn't matter. Everyone knows what they're talking about here. If that makes you sad, go blow your nose in a Kleenex.

Re:HIV Vaccine (1)

catmandi (995992) | about 5 years ago | (#29529969)

*bows before Lord Ender, retreats fearfully*

Re:HIV Vaccine (0)

Pulzar (81031) | about 5 years ago | (#29529815)

I'm not normally a stickler for these, but AIDS is a syndrome, HIV is the virus that causes it. The vaccine can prevent you from acquiring HIV and thence from developing AIDS. It's not a cure, it's a preventative measure.

That's just straight up wrong. If you bothered to read TFA (I know, I know, it's Slashdot), you'd see that the vaccine doesn't have any impact on the amount of HIV in one's blood, and does not prevent one from getting HIV into one's blood. What it does do, though, is reduce the chance of that HIV turning into AIDS.

Re:HIV Vaccine (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29529957)

You seem to be reading a different article to the one posted on Slashdot. The one linked in the summary states that it is an HIV vaccine but it didn't affect the amount of HIV in the blood of those who were infected compared to the placebo. Those who were not infected had no HIV in their blood. This is interesting, because normally a vaccine that is partially effective like this will mean that the people who are infected will have less of the virus in their blood than people who are not vaccinated, but still enough to be infected. This one has an entirely binary success rate; it either makes no difference at all in a particular person, or it makes them immune to the relevant strains of HIV. This implies that there is some other factor at play, possibly something in the genetic makeup of the people who were not infected, which could lead to a universally effective vaccine being developed.

Re:HIV Vaccine (2, Interesting)

catmandi (995992) | about 5 years ago | (#29530017)

I went and had a look at the aforementioned article. I stand by what I said. The vaccine may not create HIV antibodies, but it still prevents the virus from progressing (maybe). You can't have a vaccine against a syndrome, since by its definition, a syndrome is: "In medicine and psychology, the term syndrome refers to the association of several clinically recognizable features, signs (observed by a physician), symptoms (reported by the patient), phenomena or characteristics that often occur together, so that the presence of one feature alerts the physician to the presence of the others. In recent decades the term has been used outside of medicine to refer to a combination of phenomena seen in association." (wikipedia, of course). You immunize against a virus (however that may work) leading to a symptomatic disease, you TREAT the disease itself.

Re:HIV Vaccine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29529861)

Don't care if you're a stickler or not. Who died and made you the big-shot?

Re:HIV Vaccine (2, Funny)

catmandi (995992) | about 5 years ago | (#29529955)

Jesus did - I quote: "Look after the shop, I'm just going to grab a pack of cigarettes."

Re:HIV Vaccine (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | about 5 years ago | (#29530129)

Jesus did - I quote:
"Look after the shop, I'm just going to grab a pack of cigarettes."

Man, that was almost two thousand years ago... It doesn't sound like you were supposed to be in charge for this long - something must have come up.

Re:HIV Vaccine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29529967)

Also, it doesn't make sense to test for presence of HIV. If you get a flu vaccination, it doesn't prevent you from catching flu virus, it prevents you from developing the disease the flu virus creates by training your immune system to fight it. So people who are immune to HIV may have the HIV virus present, but may not contract AIDS because their immune system fights and kills the virus. Similarly, just because you get a flu vaccine, you can still catch the flu virus, only difference is instead of putting you out of commission for a few days, you end up tired and sneezy one night and the next you're fine.

Re:HIV Vaccine (1)

daveime (1253762) | about 5 years ago | (#29530025)

No, the difference being the symptoms don't affect you, but as you are still a carrier, you manage to go to work without loss of pay, and spread it to all the poor bastards who weren't vaccinated, costing them time and wages.

Vaccinations really only work for selfish motives, unless everyone, and I mean everyone, has been vaccinated against the same disease.

Vaccine Is Partially Successful (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29529641)

Formerly known as not successful.

Re:Vaccine Is Partially Successful (2, Funny)

noundi (1044080) | about 5 years ago | (#29529787)

Formerly known as not successful.

I... don't recall the world ever being black and white. I'm pretty sure what you're doing is called "oversimplifying".

Re:Vaccine Is Partially Successful (3, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 5 years ago | (#29529941)

Not at all. What this shows is that the vaccine likely works for some subset of the population. That doesn't mean it doesn't work at all. Viagra for example only works for about 60% of men but people don't go screaming that it doesn't work.

Bottom line here is that vaccine or no, you should still practice safe sex (afterall, HIV isn't the only bad disease lurking around out there). However, if this thing has a ~30% chance of making you immune to the disease with no other ill effects then it's certainly worth reducing your chances by that much.

Basically, to break it down, your chances of getting aids comes down to 3 factors (4 now with this in place):

a * b * c * d

Where
a = the chance that your partner is infected
b = the chance that you catch the disease during an encounter with an infected partner (having intercourse with an infected person doesn't guarantee infection)
c = the chance that your protection fails (only comes into play if you used protection - otherwise it's 100%)
d = the chance that your vaccine was ineffective (only comes into play if you actually got vaccinated - otherwise this is 100%)

Everything that is scientifically proven to reduce the final result, even if it doesn't go to 0% in the end, is a success in my opinion.

Re:Vaccine Is Partially Successful (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 5 years ago | (#29530111)

This is why I like IUD + pill + condom... babies are evil.

Re:Vaccine Is Partially Successful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29530203)

You forgot * e

e = the chance that you post on slashdot in which case e is zero

This should have had the Apple logo by it. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29529649)

There you go Mac users! You can have it without worrying about AIDS!

No hurry (5, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | about 5 years ago | (#29529669)

Cool! Hopefully by the time I become sexually active it will have improved much more!

Re:No hurry (1)

Ingcuervo (1349561) | about 5 years ago | (#29529803)

of course, it is obvious that when you get sexually active it should be a lot better, because if you usually stay around /. probably you will become sexually active when microsoft release windows 22, bug free edition!!!!!!!!

the deffinition of an eon (4, Funny)

TiggertheMad (556308) | about 5 years ago | (#29529821)

Fortunately, that gives the the researchers plenty of time...

Re:No hurry (1)

kimvette (919543) | about 5 years ago | (#29529863)

Most slashdotters won't have anything to worry about either way. Playing warcraft and evercrack while stuffing your cheese hole with doritos, cheetos, and coke all night every night is a great preventative measure against major HIV risk factors. ;)

Re:No hurry (1)

martas (1439879) | about 5 years ago | (#29529873)

I suppose when exactly that happens depends on your karma... get it? like, not in this life? funny, right?!

Re:No hurry (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 5 years ago | (#29530177)

I suppose when exactly that happens depends on your karma... get it? like, not in this life? funny, right?!

You must be an american script writer.

Re:No hurry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29529895)

Too bad the sun becoming a red giant will kill you first.

Re:No hurry (1)

4D6963 (933028) | about 5 years ago | (#29530103)

Unless my balls becoming blue giants kill me before that.

Re:No hurry (4, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#29529917)

Cool! Hopefully by the time I become sexually active it will have improved much more!

How I pity you young folks that never lived through the '70s. It was a GREAT time to be a nerd. Nerds were still paraihs, but hippies were "cool", and all a nerd had to do to become a hippie was to stop getting haircuts, buy a new pair of glasses, and throw away the pocket protectors. Birth control was cheap and effective, abortions had been legalized by the SCOTUS, and there were no STDs that couldn't be cured with a shot of pennicillin.

It was the only decade in my life (maybe in history) where strange women would walk up and say "wanna fuck?" without wanting you to buy her twenty dollars worth of crack. [slashdot.org]

Aids killed all that. God but I miss the seventies!

Re:No hurry (1, Interesting)

rivetgeek (977479) | about 5 years ago | (#29530161)

As a middle class white male non IV-drug user, statistically speaking, you are far more likely to hit a hole in one in golf than to catch HIV in the United States. Its something like .04% per incident with a known carrier if you're male and having vaginal sex.

Scary clinical trial (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29529677)

Col. Jerome H. Kim, a physician who is manager of the armyâ(TM)s H.I.V. vaccine program, said half the 16,402 volunteers were given six doses of two vaccines in 2006 and half were given placebos. They then got regular tests for the AIDS virus for three years. Of those who got placebos, 74 became infected, while only 51 of those who got the vaccines did.

Wait, wait, wait. Did they go through the random distribution of people who may get aids? Clearly they did not just infect people with aids afterwards. The only way I can think of them getting these rates is that when someone tested positive for aids who was not in the trial noted their previous partners, then that partner list was cross-referenced with the vaccinated.

Hm, I guess the other way would be if someone who had the vaccine was told by one of their partners that they were infected and that they should get themselves checked.

Regardless, there has to be a significant margin of error on their estimates thanks to AIDS reporting and such.

Re:Scary clinical trial (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 5 years ago | (#29529705)

This seems a bit overhyped to me, and doesn't really seem like a well-run clinical trial. It may be something of a first step, but if it is, there's still a long way to go.

Re:Scary clinical trial (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 5 years ago | (#29529799)

They had a control group who got a placebo instead of the real vaccine, and compared the infection rates of both. Both groups were drawn from the same demographics. So no need to interview partners, compensate for riskier behavior due to being "protected", etc.

Re:Scary clinical trial (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29529925)

They had a control group who got a placebo instead of the real vaccine, and compared the infection rates of both. Both groups were drawn from the same demographics. So no need to interview partners, compensate for riskier behavior due to being "protected", etc.

The Straight Dope Aids odds [straightdope.com]

From there on out, statistically speaking, things deteriorate pretty fast. If your partner is HIV-positive, your chances of getting AIDS after one night are 1 in 5,000 with a condom, 1 in 500 without. Have sex with an HIV-positive partner 500 times using condoms and your chances escalate to 1 in 11. Skip the gift wrap and they're 2 in 3.

Because there is not a 100% chance of getting aids from unprotected sex, and that the numbers are quite close (a difference of 20)... I have to question the numbers. Everyone who had unprotected sex (From either the placebo or vaccine group) had a 1 in 500 dice roll of not getting aids from one encounter.

See what I'm getting at? How do we know that the aids infected people wern't just part of the standard of deviation?

Re:Scary clinical trial (2, Informative)

tomtomtom (580791) | about 5 years ago | (#29529839)

No, they just went to a population where HIV is already relatively common and a large number of people don't usually take adequate precautions against it (i.e. use condoms) and then studied the effects of the vaccine on that population's total infection rate over time. It's not the greatest way to test this (since you have no way to tell if it's just down to random variations in the two population's levels of exposure) but doing it properly (i.e. deliverately exposing people) is pretty unethical to say the least.

Of course, you can also test the vaccine on animal models which are deliberately exposed to HIV so we know there's a good chance it will be effective if the population study then shows these kinds of results to corroborate it.

Ultimately one of the purposes of drug trials is also to look at side-effects. Assuming the side-effects of this vaccine weren't too bad, with that kind of effectiveness rate it would seem this stands a reasonable chance of widespread deployment, in which case it'll be possible to gather more data.

Inspiring.... (3, Insightful)

Zantac69 (1331461) | about 5 years ago | (#29529687)

...but their conclusions.

How in the hell could you ever do a controlled experiment like this on people if you dont control their exposure to the infection causing material? The only way you can determind improvements of real thing over placebo is if you intentionally expose the test subjects to the virus...which would be a death sentence.

Their results could mean that the group recieving the test vaccine came into contact with the virus 31.2% less.

Re:Inspiring.... (0, Redundant)

wstrucke (876891) | about 5 years ago | (#29529765)

I was thinking the same thing. If they weren't tracking and testing all sexual partners I do not understand how they could come up with any statistically valid result. It seems that they are making a lot of assumptions as to the common behavior of all of the subjects. Considering how small of a percentage actually became infected (51 out of 8000 is about half a percent), I don't see how any assumptions could "even out" with the sample pool.

This news is certainly exciting, but IMO it should be taken with a grain of salt.

Re:Inspiring.... (1)

4D6963 (933028) | about 5 years ago | (#29529975)

Wow, I already knew that people on Slashdot had a very tenuous understanding on economic or scientific topics, but damn, most of you have an awfully tenuous grasp of statistics too!

If they weren't tracking and testing all sexual partners I do not understand how they could come up with any statistically valid result.

Why would they need to track anyone? People are still going to do what it takes to catch HIV in the same way in both groups. Why would you want one group to catch HIV more than the other, besides for what randomness allows?

it should be taken with a grain of salt.

If it should, then it's not for the reasons you're thinking of.

Re:Inspiring.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29530049)

The reason is.... randomness! Assuming that the groups were selected randomly then the results hold. You may point out, "Well, isn't it possible that all the people who were put in the vaccine group just didn't participate in risky activities?" The answer is of course it is possible, but if the groups were assigned randomly the chance of that happening is built into the result.

As long as the group assignments were truly random and they didn't treat the people in the two groups differently after they were assigned then I would expect that you would see similar results if this experiment were repeated.

Re:Inspiring.... (5, Insightful)

gazbo (517111) | about 5 years ago | (#29529775)

If you managed to accidentally partition 16,402 people such that one group was exposed 31.2% less than the other, I think you could count yourself as "fairly unlucky".

Re:Inspiring.... (1)

LotsOfPhil (982823) | about 5 years ago | (#29530083)

The troubling thing is that the ones who got the vaccine and were infected were just as sick as those who got a placebo. The vaccination should have slowed the progress of the disease in the cases were it didn't prevent it. Or so one would think/hope.

Re:Inspiring.... (1)

Harlan879 (878542) | about 5 years ago | (#29530237)

Not necessarily. HIV works by aikido-ing the immune system. It could be that the vaccine could either fully prevent infection or fully fail to prevent infection. Once the virus becomes established in immune cells, the presence of the vaccine and an immune response might be totally insignificant to the progress of the infection.

New Vaccine prevents Card Accidents! (1)

osomoore (1446439) | about 5 years ago | (#29529813)

I have a new test for a vaccine that prevents car accidents! I'll inject 8,000 people with a placebo, and I'll inject my vaccine into another 8,000. There's a reasonably probability that the half with the "real" vaccine will have less car accidents, thus showing progress in my vaccine! TLDR: Vaccine trials are useless without infecting people.

Re:New Vaccine prevents Card Accidents! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29530213)

Worst. Car. Analogy. Ever! You probably think a standard deviation is, "guys who dig chicks with hairy armpits."

Take 16,000 drivers at random. Send half of them through intensive accident avoidance training. Give the other half a fifteen minute lecture on traffic safety and a "Safe Driver" sticker. Let commuting take its course and tote up the body work needed, with only portion of the whole 16,000 subjects actually getting into a fender bender. Now count the number of people in both populations involved in those accidents, seeing if there's a significant statistical difference in numbers between those that got the training and those that didn't.

What you're proposing would mean is sending all 16,000 drivers into a surprise demolition derby.

Re:Inspiring.... (1)

Bovius (1243040) | about 5 years ago | (#29529847)

That means 68.8% of their test subjects got a terminal disease. Those don't sound like very good odds to me.

I know that that conclusion is erroneous, I just like the idea of these guys giving a bunch of people the vaccine and then trying to give them AIDS. For science!

Re:Inspiring.... (0)

Pulzar (81031) | about 5 years ago | (#29529877)

How in the hell could you ever do a controlled experiment like this on people if you dont control their exposure to the infection causing material? The only way you can determind improvements of real thing over placebo is if you intentionally expose the test subjects to the virus...which would be a death sentence.

Everybody was already exposed to the virus. For those that got the vaccine, there was a 30% less chance of it turning into AIDS.

The vaccine successfully prevented HIV turning into AIDS in some number of people, basically. It didn't stop people from getting HIV.

Re:Inspiring.... (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 5 years ago | (#29529879)

Well, if you only accepted individuals that engaged in high risk behaviors and stated that they had no intention of stopping their behavior, then it might be more accurate.

Re:Inspiring.... (1)

4D6963 (933028) | about 5 years ago | (#29529897)

Their results could mean that the group recieving the test vaccine came into contact with the virus 31.2% less.

And how the fuck would that work? They're random groups, no one knows who got what. That means anyone is still as likely to get in contact with HIV. If you took two groups and gave them both placebo then you might have something like 75 in on and 70 in the other, cause that's the kind of margin the randomness allows for. 74 and 51 clearly means that it's something the vaccine does.

Re:Inspiring.... (3, Insightful)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | about 5 years ago | (#29529931)

here is how:

1)get the infection rate of the population
2)take a random sample from the population
3)do a double blind study of the vaccine
4)at the end of x years, compare the rate of infection of both your experimental group and your control group. If the control group is with in the statistical bounds of the population infection rate and the experimental group's infection rate is below that rate at a statisticaly significant level, then you can conclude the vaccine has a positive impact on infection rates.

Stats 101 (2, Insightful)

TiggertheMad (556308) | about 5 years ago | (#29530005)

Their results could mean that the group recieving the test vaccine came into contact with the virus 31.2% less.

No, you don't need to control their exposure. You can study the infection rate for the general population, and provided that your study group isn't unusually different from the general population (say, by being all sexually active gay men), you can expect a similar infection rate over time.

yes, there are potentially statistical deviations that could occur, but the larger the sample group and the more test that occur, the less likely this is. Go take some stats classes if you are curious about the methodology, but if they did the trial correctly your suggested interpretation is very unlikely.

News for Nerds ? (4, Funny)

alexhs (877055) | about 5 years ago | (#29529729)

How is that news for nerds ?

None of us will ever get laid, so that's not stuff that matters...

</cliché>

Re:News for Nerds ? (2, Informative)

palegray.net (1195047) | about 5 years ago | (#29529761)

Funny, but you forgot about blood transfusions. While it's extremely rare for contaminated blood to be used in the U.S. and many other western nations, it's a very real possibility for a lot of the world.

Re:News for Nerds ? (1)

selven (1556643) | about 5 years ago | (#29529927)

And dirty needles (both medical and illicit). And getting into a fight with someone where some blood splatters onto your wound. And being deliberately poisoned for whatever reason.

Re:News for Nerds ? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 years ago | (#29530197)

And drunk women.

Re:News for Nerds ? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29529853)

HIV can be sexually transmitted, but it's also transmitted via blood transfusions and a few other mechanisms. Even nerds get blood transfusions. Some nerds work in hospitals and so are exposed to the virus on a regular basis, and an accident with a needle can cause infection.

Re:News for Nerds ? (1)

martas (1439879) | about 5 years ago | (#29529945)

yeah, but it doesn't mean it can't satisfy our perpetual hunger for coolness and excitement from things that have nothing to do whatsoever with our own lives, at least in the foreseeable future. just like news on quantum computers, or some new concept for a space elevator, or some new metamaterial that maybe possibly will allow moore's law to continue holding in a distant, hypothetical future.

i'm just sayin'...

Effectiveness (3, Insightful)

LightPhoenix7 (1070028) | about 5 years ago | (#29529733)

While this is excellent news, and intriguing scientifically, an effectiveness of 31.8% is practically useless in vaccinating a population. Typically you need at least 70% of your population (varies based on virus) vaccinated before you start to see the effects of herd immunity. Even if they vaccinated everyone in Thailand, you wouldn't get this effect.

Furthermore, the low effectiveness is actually a liability; the end result could be mutations in the HIV virus that make it immune to the vaccine. This is part of the reason why the influenza vaccine has limited effectiveness - influenza, like HIV, has a tendency to mutate quickly. If a new strain comes along, like H1N1 for influenza, you're defenseless.

Finally, I think there's a problem with how the vaccine will be perceived. If the vaccine is only 30% effective, I think people will see that as being too risky to even get the shot. There's already (too much IMO) FUD out there against vaccines in general. If you think that you can get influenza from the flu vaccine, there's a strong aversion to taking the HIV vaccine. For a 30% chance at being immune, that's no good. If it were 100%, that would be a totally different story.

Re:Effectiveness (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 5 years ago | (#29529805)

False dichotomy. You are simply wrong when you say anything but herd immunity is useless. The people who don't die of AIDS thanks to this vaccine would very much disagree with you.

Re:Effectiveness (1)

gclef (96311) | about 5 years ago | (#29529867)

Ye, gods, if ever there was a comment that needs an RTFA, it's yours.

There are two direct quotes in the article that make it clear this is not a vaccine that will ever be made available to the public because it's not effective enough. The story here is that a vaccine with statistically interesting effectiveness is *possible*. We weren't even sure that one was up till now.

Re:Effectiveness (3, Insightful)

felipekk (1007591) | about 5 years ago | (#29530105)

I think the big deal here is that they were able to create something that has an effectiveness greater than 0.

I'm not an expert on the subject, but I guess it's easier to go up from 30% effective than from 0% effective.

Re:Effectiveness (1)

zolltron (863074) | about 5 years ago | (#29530233)

I think there is one other problem as well. When you have a vaccine that isn't 100% effective, at least a subset of the population might treat it as if it was 100%. People might engage in more risky behaviors assuming that they're immune. If you take the full effect of a vaccine into account, it might even cause an *increase* in HIV.

Hopefully this is just a step to a better vaccine.

FINALLY! (0, Offtopic)

chiqui13 (1641687) | about 5 years ago | (#29529735)

, let's hope that this discovery will really serve its purpose..maybe the next one would be a final cure... Samsung LED TV [un46b7000.org]

So the pool is partially open? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29529817)

CANNONBALL!

Partially Successful (1)

muftak (636261) | about 5 years ago | (#29529851)

Only cures good AIDS, doesn't work on bad AIDS

Pools Closed.. (-1, Troll)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about 5 years ago | (#29529865)

Everyone has AIDS!
AIDS AIDS AIDS!
AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS!
Everyone has AIDS!


And so this is the end of our story
And everyone is dead from AIDS
It took from me my best friend
My only true pal
My only bright star (he died of AIDS)


Well I'm gonna march on Washington
Lead the fight and charge the brigades
There's a hero inside of all of us
I'll make them see everyone has AIDS


My father (AIDS!)
My sister (AIDS!)
My uncle and my cousin and her best friend (AIDS AIDS AIDS!)
The gays and the straights
And the white and the spades

Everyone has AIDS!
My grandma and my dog 'ol blue (AIDS AIDS AIDS)
The pope has got it and so do you (AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS)
C'mon everybody we got quilting to do (AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS)
We gotta break down these baricades, everyone has
AIDS! x 20

flawed (1)

angelwolf71885 (1181671) | about 5 years ago | (#29529881)

the test was flawed it assumes all the ppl f the study have the exact same risk when it dose not.. the only true test is to inject ALL the subjects with HIV infected fluid and see who gets hiv when

I don't know how you can buy these results... (0)

HerculesMO (693085) | about 5 years ago | (#29529899)

They gave the vaccine to people who didn't have aids in two groups, and then looked at who got aids after 3 years.

It could just be that people on the placebo took more risks than the people who didn't which is why it is a statistical outlier.

This is the most ridiculously published study I've ever seen, but if they are looking for funding, I guess it's a good way to get it.

Re:I don't know how you can buy these results... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29530035)

I'll never understand what makes the general public think they are qualified to critique scientific studies.

Re:I don't know how you can buy these results... (1)

danlip (737336) | about 5 years ago | (#29530263)

They gave the vaccine to people who didn't have aids in two groups, and then looked at who got aids after 3 years.

It could just be that people on the placebo took more risks than the people who didn't which is why it is a statistical outlier.

This is the most ridiculously published study I've ever seen, but if they are looking for funding, I guess it's a good way to get it.

The participants wouldn't know if they got the placebo or not, so it shouldn't affect their behavior. The group is large enough that random statistical variation is highly unlikely to show those results. So the study is not ridiculous at all, it was very well done. The vaccine is not effective enough to be practical, but it has some affect, which is a big improvement over what we had before - it's just more work is needed.

Re:I don't know how you can buy these results... (1)

Harlan879 (878542) | about 5 years ago | (#29530271)

It could just be that people on the placebo took more risks than the people who didn't which is why it is a statistical outlier.

Why would they take more risks? The whole point of a placebo is that you don't know if it's a placebo or not. So there's no reason to expect a change in behavior in one group versus the other. In fact, the behavior change should be driven in the other direction. If there was some reason to think that you got the vaccine (say, side effects not present with the placebo), then you would be likely to increase your risky behavior and increase your likelihood of infection! In this case, they got an effect in the other direction -- the treated group had less infections.

Partially use condoms? (1)

fhuglegads (1334505) | about 5 years ago | (#29529901)

Can I partially use condoms in conjunction with the vaccine and be safe? My dad never talked about this during the birds and bees talk.

Unconvincing statistics (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29529911)

At least the article has some numbers so we can to the (approximated) maths ourselves. The numbers of infected for medicine/placebo are 51 and 74, respectively. The error of the difference is then sqrt(54+71) = 11 (poissonian statistics). The difference itself is 74-51 = 23, so we can conclude that 23 +/- 11 persons were saved from infection. That means that we're just two standard deviations (23/11) away from the null result. This will happen by coincidence 5% of the time. So if they'd done the study 20 times, you'd expect this outcome once. Now this study has only been done once, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear that 20 different AIDS medications have been tested over time, and so it's quite likely to see this outcome once. Conclusion: This warrants further study, but they really haven't proven much yet. In fact, if they were physicists and not physicians they would have proven nothing. Especially since they, by their own admission, cannot explain the result.

Vaccine was actually found many years ago! (1)

fifewiskey (1608023) | about 5 years ago | (#29529939)

Didn't Magic Johnson originally find that money will actually cure your HIV? So, this really isn't new news is it?

amend my theology (3, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 5 years ago | (#29529985)

But I thought AIDS was sent by God as a scourge of teh gheys. So God must hate the 68.8% it doesn't work for, then.

what I want to know is. . . (0, Redundant)

kimvette (919543) | about 5 years ago | (#29529987)

How the heck do they find volunteers for this kind of thing? Does it go like this:

"Hey kid, let us inject you with 'weak' HIV virus concoctions and then treat you to the hooker of your choice. Oh, and here's some heroin to shoot yourself up with. Have a blast!"

Seriously though; who the heck would willingly subject themselves to any strain of HIV? A vaccine is designed to give you a mild form of the disease that you're trying to prevent. A "mild" case of AIDS doesn't sound much better than a full-blown case - and what about that tiny percentage which already has a compromised immune system and develops the full-blown infection? This can and does happen with vaccines.

AIDS is relatively easy to prevent. Don't be a slut, don't do drugs, etc. and the chances of contracting it are miniscule. The only drawback to that (abstinence) is being a good samaritan is scary - if someone is in a bad car accident and you're trained in first aid, do you help or don't you? Your conscience says yes, but your self-preservation instincts kick in and you think to yourself "I wonder if this person has HIV or hepatitis." Oh and another one: what if your dentist or doctor or tattoo artist or hairdresser or whoever is infected? Vaccines are good for those situations I suppose, but is it worth the risk of a vaccine giving you the full-blown disease?

Re:what I want to know is. . . (1)

lattyware (934246) | about 5 years ago | (#29530173)

Actually, you can get HIV from any contact with blood to yours, you don't have to do drugs or be a slut to get it. As to a vaccine being a mild form of the disease, now-a-days it's now a dead form. Your body can still develop an immune responce due to dead viral cells, and this is what is done. Of course, IANAScientist/Doctor, so this is what what I have been told.

Re:what I want to know is. . . (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 years ago | (#29530243)

Don't marry anyone who may ahve secretly been sleeping around, don't get a blood transfusion, odn't mkae a mistake.

Sheesh, What kind of idiot is against an HIV/AIDS vaccines?

"This can and does happen with vaccines."
What? cite please.

I wonder... (1)

netscan (1028690) | about 5 years ago | (#29530033)

if the infection rate would have been even lower had they just educated the participants about prevention... All of those infected were thrown to the wolves so to speak just to see what would happen.

Re:I wonder... (2, Informative)

ledow (319597) | about 5 years ago | (#29530201)

Er... they *all* underwent the same sex and infection-control education courses, according to the BBC article. Medical researchers don't throw people to the wolves just for the sake of science... at least, not any reputable ones whose research they expect to be followed up.

Re:I wonder... (2, Informative)

lattyware (934246) | about 5 years ago | (#29530215)

And if they had never run the test, the results would have been the same. Please, don't push blame onto others, we have enough of that into modern society. There is plenty of education forced down your throat at every turn about HIV/AIDS, if you don't know about it, it is your fault.
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