* U.N. agencies call results "encouraging"
* Remains to be seen whether vaccine applicable elsewhere
GENEVA, Sept 24 Two U.N. agencies said on
Thursday promising results with an experimental AIDS vaccine in
Thailand gave "new hope" in the fight against the disease, but
more work was needed to see if it could be used elsewhere.
The vaccine tested on volunteers is a combination of
Sanofi-Aventis's (SASY.PA) ALVAC canary pox vaccine and the
failed HIV vaccine AIDSVAX, made by VaxGen and now owned by the
non-profit Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases.
"The study results, representing a significant scientific
advance, are the first demonstration that a vaccine can prevent
HIV infection in a general adult population and are of great
importance," the Geneva-based World Health Organisation and the
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) said.
The vaccine lowered the risk of HIV infection by 32 percent
among 16,000 heterosexual Thai volunteers who had no special
risk of AIDS infection, the U.S. and Thai government researchers
The U.N. agencies, in a joint statement, characterised the
efficacy as "modestly protective".
"However, these results have instilled new hope in the HIV
vaccine research field and promise that a safe and highly
effective HIV vaccine may become available for populations
throughout the world who are most in need of such a vaccine,"
"It remains to be seen if the two specific vaccine
components in this particular regime would be applicable to
other parts of the world with diverse host genetic backgrounds
and different HIV subtypes driving different regional
sub-epidemics," the agencies added.
Once an HIV vaccine does become available, it will need to
be universally accessible to all persons at risk, they said.
(For a story on the test results doubleclick on
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Michael Roddy)