Changes to National HIV Vaccine Study Hit Bay Area
Bay Area residents are among the participants of an experimental HIV vaccine study who will be notified whether they were given the vaccine or placebo, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Leaders of the study -- including officials from Merck, NIH and a group of physicians who enrolled the trial participants -- decided to unblind the study after several days of discussions at an HIV Vaccine Trials Network conference last week in Seattle.
According to the Chronicle, the experimental vaccine might have unexpectedly increased the risk of contracting HIV. Of the 3,000 study participants, 137 live in the Bay Area.
Susan Buchbinder -- director of HIV Research for the San Francisco Department of Public Health and co-chair of the committee that established the protocols for the trial -- said there was "lots of opportunity for discussion among the investigators and the community, and the vast majority were in favor of unblinding" the study.
However, the Chronicle reports that the move could limit "the scientific value" of any data gathered as researchers continue to observe the participants (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/14).