HIV treatment dead end: US vaccine failures prompt end to trials

RT News

US authorities have announced the cessation of clinical trials in the US after a vaccine designed to prevent the spread of HIV was revealed to be ineffective. The four-year trial failed to stop or reduce HIV infection in some 2,500 participants.

The trials, carried out by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), began in August 2009 and mark the latest in a series of failed attempts at tackling the Human Immunodeficiency Virus.  

Exactly 2,504 volunteers across 19 US cities – all gay men or transgendered people who had sex with men – participated in the massive federally backed study, which hoped to determine whether a vaccine program could prevent HIV infections or reduce the ‘viral load’: The amount of virus in the blood of infected patients.

The HVTN 505 vaccine was given to 1,250 participants, with 1,244 receiving a placebo. The volunteers were initially administered a series of three immunizations over the course of eight weeks. These DNA-based vaccines, designed to alert the immune system, were then followed up with a single ‘booster’ injection in the 24th week.

Results were analyzed on Monday, prompting a supervisory panel to swiftly halt the program. Forty-one infections were detected among those who had received the real vaccine, versus 30 in the placebo group.

Vaccines also failed to reduce infection levels in the blood. “The DSMB found that the vaccine failed to reduce viral load among volunteers who acquired HIV infection at least 28 weeks after entering the study,”the NIAID said in a statement released on Thursday.


The HVTN 505 study appealing for HIV negative volunteers to participate in the now defunct 'Phase 3' of its investigation. Image from

The HVTN 505 study appealing for HIV negative volunteers to participate in the now defunct ‘Phase 3’ of its investigation. Image from


Additionally, an increase in HIV acquisition was noted among volunteers in the ‘investigational’ vaccine group, as opposed to the placebo group. However, the NIAID said that this increase was “non-statistically significant.”

The institute went on to say that the results of the study are being scrutinized to determine both why the vaccine did not work and why there was an increase in HIV acquisition.

The search for an HIV cure has plagued scientists since the disease was first identified in the early 1980s. Some 34 million people are infected with the virus worldwide, including 3.4 million children.

In March, a baby girl born with HIV became the first person to be ‘functionally cured’ using conventional drugs, leading to speculation that the virus might be treatable in children.

“This trial has provided a clear, swift answer about a specific vaccine strategy. It’s not the answer we hoped for, but the search doesn’t end here,” Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention, said in a statement.

5 thoughts on “HIV treatment dead end: US vaccine failures prompt end to trials

  1. This is bullshit. They already have a cure for HIV hidden somewhere, just like there is already a cure for cancer. They just want the people to suffer and keep paying them more money for false hope and information and to make their pocketbooks bigger. Meanwhile, when they get HIV, they go to one of those DUMBs or COGs and secretly grab one of them in their secret lab facility. You don’t engineer a virus like HIV and not have an antidote for a backup. Trust me, they are not that stupid.

  2. If they had given them the same vaccine they gave to Magic Johnson, every last one of them would be cured by now.

    NOT part of the plan, unfortunately.



    Q: What is AIDS?

    A: AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.

    Acquired – means that the disease is not hereditary but develops after birth from contact with a disease causing agent (in this case, HIV).

    Immunodeficiency – means that the disease is characterized by a weakening of the immune system.

    Syndrome – refers to a group of symptoms that collectively indicate or characterize a disease. In the case of AIDS this can include the development of certain infections and/or cancers, as well as a decrease in the number of certain cells in a person’s immune system.

    A diagnosis of AIDS is made by a physician using specific clinical or laboratory standards.

    Q: What causes AIDS?

    A: AIDS is caused by infection with a virus called human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This virus is passed from one person to another through blood-to-blood and sexual contact. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy or delivery, as well as through breast feeding. People with HIV have what is called HIV infection. Some of these people will develop AIDS as a result of their HIV infection.

    A: What is HIV?

    Q: HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. This virus may be passed from one person to another when infected blood, semen, or vaginal secretions come in contact with an uninfected person’s broken skin or mucous membranes*. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their baby during pregnancy or delivery, as well as through breast-feeding. People with HIV have what is called HIV infection. Some of these people will develop AIDS as a result of their HIV infection.

    * A mucous membrane is wet, thin tissue found in certain openings to the human body. These can include the mouth, eyes, nose, vagina, rectum, and opening of the penis.

    Q: How does HIV cause AIDS?

    A: HIV destroys a certain kind of blood cell (CD4+ T cells) which is crucial to the normal function of the human immune system. In fact, loss of these cells in people with HIV is an extremely powerful predictor of the development of AIDS. Studies of thousands of people have revealed that most people infected with HIV carry the virus for years before enough damage is done to the immune system for AIDS to develop. However, sensitive tests have shown a strong connection between the amount of HIV in the blood and the decline in CD4+ T cells and the development of AIDS. Reducing the amount of virus in the body with anti-retroviral therapies can dramatically slow the destruction of a person’s immune system.


    Since the 1980s, scientists and doctors have questioned the accuracy of the current theory that HIV causes AIDS. One of the most prominent leaders in this investigation has been Dr. Peter Duesberg, a world-renowned virologist, and the first scientist to isolate a cancer gene. In addition, Duesberg, who is a professor at the University of California-Berkeley, has published hundreds of scholarly articles, been funded for decades, including by the National Institute of Health (earning their Distinguished Investigator Award), and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences of the USA at a very young age. During the course of his research, he has found overwhelming evidence that the HIV hypothesis may be flawed, and has suggested that environmental factors play a larger role in the development of AIDS than the HIV virus. He published his arguments against the HIV hypothesis in several peer-reviewed journal articles as well as in his book “Inventing the AIDS Virus,” published in 1996. The following arguments were largely taken from his book, but also from a documentary film produced in 1996 (‘HIV=AIDS: fact or fraud’), as well as some more recently published information.

    The following are some important reasons why HIV may not be the cause of AIDS:

    1. HIV (like all other viruses) is harmless after antibody immunity.

    There is a fatal flaw in using HIV tests to predict disease susceptibility: HIV tests check for the presence of antibodies to the virus. Normally, when antibodies appear, it means that the person has been previously exposed to and successfully fought off the virus; it does not mean that one is currently infected with the virus. The presence of antibodies also means that immunity has been built against the virus, and one is no longer going to get the disease. However, the HIV-AIDS hypothesis defies this standard, and one is said to have the virus if antibodies are found (not be immune), and one is considered to be in a “latency period,” until the disease, AIDS, manifests itself. No known microbe reemerges to cause disease only after antibodies have formed. This is the rationale for vaccines, which introduce a small amount of the microbe to stimulate the body to create antibodies to it. Therefore, an AIDS vaccine would be redundant (and will always be ‘years away’ in development).

    2. HIV does not kill the T cells it infects.

    The HIV-AIDS hypothesis, put forth by Dr. Robert Gallo, is that HIV kills T cells; when enough T cells are dead, the result is AIDS. There are a number of reasons why this hypothesis is not only unproven but implausible. HIV appears to be one of the many viruses found in humans and animals that is harmless and does not lead to disease. Specifically, HIV is a retrovirus; retroviruses never attack their own (host) cells. HIV does infect T cells (as a means of replicating itself) but does not kill T cells. In fact, even in Dr. Gallo’s lab, T cells are commonly used to grow HIV, as HIV and T cells live compatibly with each other.

    3. HIV does not infect enough T cells to cause AIDS.

    HIV can be found in 1 out of 1,000 T cells – and sometimes in as few as 1 in 100,000 T cells. After antibodies have formed, HIV begins to deteriorate, die off, and disappear. In contrast, T cells replicate at a rate of 5% per day. HIV simply cannot infect enough T cells to cause them to die off (even if it did kill them) to cause AIDS.

    Even Gallo’s own data did not demonstrate sufficiently high levels of virus particles to cause AIDS. There is no virus in AIDS patients – only antibodies to HIV can be found, and then not in all AIDS cases. To die from a virus that kills T cells, the virus would have to kill off at least half of them.

    4. HIV has no AIDS-causing genes.

    HIV, like all other retroviruses, has a very simple, three-gene structure. Retrovirus genes are just complex enough to replicate but not complex enough to kill T cells. The hundreds of other retroviruses in the body act similarly, and do not cause AIDS.

    5. There is no such thing as a slow virus.

    The theory that HIV has a long latency period before causing AIDS appears highly suspect, as no other virus has a latency period extending beyond six weeks. In contrast, most viruses (the flu, colds, herpes) usually produce their effects days or sometimes weeks after the original infection. However, it is hypothesized that HIV can have a latency period of many years before causing AIDS. The latency period begin (in 1984) as one year. By 1996, the latency period was extended to 10-12 years. In fact, less than 6% of the 18 million individuals who tested positive for HIV developed AIDS from 1986 to 1996, when Duesberg’s book was published. Since his book came out, it has been discovered that individuals diagnosed with HIV have been living, sometimes totally symptom free, for 20 to 25 years. These individuals are called “long-term survivors.”

    6. HIV is not a new virus, so it could not cause a “new” epidemic.

    Epidemiological studies demonstrate that HIV is very old; it has maintained a constant presence in this country (about 1 million infected) since testing began in 1985, despite a peak in AIDS cases in 1993. If this infectious agent were new, like a constantly mutating flu virus, then one would see a dramatic spike in the number of people infected, followed by a spike in incidence of the disease the virus causes. HIV, like all retroviruses, is transmitted from mother to child perinatally (i.e., during pregnancy, childbirth, or lactation). So a minority of individuals has already been infected with HIV in the absence of any so-called risk factors.

    7. HIV fails Koch’s postulates.

    Over a hundred years ago, Robert Koch formalized three rules (called Koch’s Postulates) for establishing that a microbe causes a particular disease. The first rule is that one must find high concentrations of the virus in all infected individuals. Usually, in just a few drops of blood, one can find millions of virus particles in those infected with the flu or herpes. However, in individuals diagnosed with AIDS, no virus particles can be found anywhere throughout the body.

    The second rule for demonstrating that a virus is the cause of a disease is that one must be able to isolate the virus from its host and grow it in a culture. Scientists have never been able to demonstrate this without having to take millions of white blood cells from an HIV positive individual and reactivate them by shocking the cells awake in the dormant HIV. Even after doing this, the reactivated HIV does not always infect the remaining cells in the culture.

    The third rule for scientifically showing that a virus is responsible for causing a disease is that one must demonstrate that the isolated virus cause disease in another (healthy) host. This is typically done with animals. However, numerous attempts at trying to infect chimpanzees with the HIV virus has failed to produce AIDS, even up to ten years later. Furthermore, in a ten-year span, there have not been any cases of HIV positive individuals accidentally passing the virus onto their healthcare workers. [This cannot be accurate; likely it it the case that accidentally infected healthcare workers do not go on to contract AIDS without certain other risk factors in place, namely, chronic recreational drug use or use of prescription AIDS drugs.]

    Here are other diseases that failed Koch’s postulates (and failed to be infectious as originally thought):

    • Scurvy
    • Beri-beri
    • Pelegra
    • SMON (Japan)
    • Virus-cancer

    8. AIDS has remained in its original risk groups.

    Infectious epidemics start in small clusters and then spread quickly throughout the entire population. If a disease does not spread, then it is not contagious. All other known viruses affect individuals of different genders and demographics equally, however, the highest percentage of AIDS cases are found among male homosexuals with a history of drug abuse, intravenous drug users, chronic users of drug that are not injected, babies of women with heavy drug use, and hemophiliacs.

    AIDS in Risk Groups: %:
    Homosexual males 62%
    IV drug users 32%
    Hemophiliacs 1%
    Transfusion patients 2%

    Total: 97%
    (Source, CDC, 1992)

    The remaining 3% fall into a category called “AIDS risks not related.” Such persons appear to have immunodeficiency at random and the person just happens to test HIV positive.

    These relative percentages of AIDS sufferers have not changed appreciably in the time since HIV was identified as the “cause” of AIDS. When that CDC data was available, fully 90% of AIDS cases were males; today, that figure is closer to 75% males. This skewed gender proportion is surprising given that HIV is evenly spread between males and females. That is, males and females are equally likely to test positive for HIV, yet males are overwhelmingly more likely to contract AIDS (at least in the US). Not coincidentally, in the US, males use more than 80% of all hard (IV) psychoactive drugs. Among women with AIDS, 62% use hard drugs. These figures are similar in Western Europe, which shows a similarly skewed gender distribution for AIDS cases. If AIDS were infectious, the hundreds of healthcare workers and lab technicians accidentally infected with HIV would have gone on to contract AIDS. Only a handful have done so, and these instances are not unambiguously due to HIV alone (i.e., in the absence of risk factors). AIDS appears instead more related to environmental factors and specific medical risks than to HIV infection. AIDS has certainly not become the worldwide pandemic that was predicted.

    In fact, AIDS does not behave like a sexually transmitted disease, as most people believe it to be. As mentioned, a disproportionate number individuals in the US with AIDS are male. If AIDS is a sexually transmitted disease, one would expect it to infect males and females at an equal rate, as all other sexually transmitted diseases do. Statistically, it takes an average of over 1,000 instances of sexual intercourse with an HIV positive individual in order to transmit the disease just once. The rate of female-to-male transmission is about 1 in 10,000 instances of sexual intercourse. Most other sexually transmitted diseases are transmitted at a rate of 1 in every 2 sexual encounters.

    Additionally, people in different risk groups contract different diseases, all under the AIDS umbrella. Intravenous drug users tend to get tuberculosis and wasting syndrome, whereas homosexual males taking nitrate inhalants tend to get Kaposi’s Sarcoma and cytomegalovirus. Why should they suffer from different diseases? These same diseases are found in HIV negative men from the same risk groups.

    9. The international profile of AIDS patients is inconsistent.

    AIDS statistics differ dramatically in US/Western Europe vs. Africa. In Africa, the ratio of male to female AIDS cases is evenly split, 50-50, with no risk groups. Also, in Africa 90% of the cases of AIDS are microbial in nature, versus 62% in the US. AIDS is said to have originated in Tanzania, Africa, yet their rates of AIDS are much lower than in the US, which doesn’t make sense from an infectious disease model perspective. Comparisons of HIV infection rates show that, as of 1996, Africa had 14 million HIV positive people, whereas the US had 1 million. Yet rates of AIDS are nearly identical, and people in the US develop AIDS at a rate that is 10-20 times faster than in Africa. Why would the AIDS epidemic behave differently in one country than another? Certainly the use of hard drugs differs dramatically between the US/Western Europe and Africa. African AIDS appear caused by malnutrition, parasitic infections, and poor sanitation.

    Additionally, due to the high cost of HIV tests in Africa, the tests are not generally used, and “AIDS” is defined (by World Health Organization standards) if three of the following symptoms are observed: weight loss of greater than 10% in the last two months, fever, diarrhea, persistent cough, itchy rash. These symptoms also correspond to local diseases — such as tuberculosis and malaria — that are a common result of poor nutrition, poor sanitation, and unsafe drinking water. Therefore, these diseases often mistaken for AIDS dramatically raise the number of individuals infected in Africa. Paradoxically, Africans are dying in no greater numbers than they ever were since the outbreak of “AIDS” in Africa.

    10. AIDS occurs without HIV infection and most people with HIV never develop AIDS.

    Evidence in support of the HIV-AIDS hypothesis is based solely on correlation. The virus is found in most AIDS patients so it was assumed that HIV causes AIDS. If instead HIV is a harmless passenger virus, then we should see 1) people with AIDS not infected with HIV and 2) people with HIV who are healthy and do not get AIDS. Both groups exist. Currently, 95% of people who were diagnoses as HIV positive do not have AIDS. As of 1993 (current data are unavailable), there were nearly 5,000 cases of individuals diagnosed with AIDS who were HIV negative. That figure is bound to be an underestimate, because the current way to diagnose some with AIDS depends first on them being HIV positive, which artificially inflates the correlation between HIV and AIDS. The list of AIDS diseases (now 30) is large and growing, and none are unique to HIV. But if you have herpes (or cervical cancer, dementia, yeast infections, Kaposi’s Sarcoma, toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus, pneumonia, etc.) but are HIV negative, then you simply have herpes. If you have herpes and are HIV positive, then by definition, you have AIDS. Interestingly, despite the name, “acquired immune deficiency,” the AIDS diseases are not all immune related illnesses; some, like Kaposi’s Sarcoma, are cancers.

    Incidentally, increasing the list of diseases that indicate AIDS infection may also be why the number of those diagnosed with AIDS has been skyrocketing since 1985, while numbers of HIV infections have remained steady since 1985. This tactic gives the illusion that more individuals are dying from AIDS while the numbers actually may have remained steady throughout the years. The addition of cervical cancer, a female-only disease, as well as the condition of having low T cell counts, has inflated the number of females with AIDS, making it look as if AIDS is spreading to the rest of the population.

    11. AIDS appears to be due to environmental toxins and/or malnutrition.

    Instead of infectious agents, AIDS appears to be caused by toxins (chronic use of hard drugs or prescription AIDS drugs) or malnutrition, but manifests differently depending on the type of environmental agent. Drug use has been found to correlate just as well to AIDS as HIV does. For example, just as smokers tend to develop lung cancer, people who abuse cocaine tend to develop pneumonia; people who abuse methamphetamines or heroin tend to develop tuberculosis or wasting disease; people who use amyl nitrates (‘poppers’) tend to develop Kaposi’s sarcoma.

    All other known viruses affect individuals of different genders and demographics equally, however, the highest percentage of AIDS cases are found among male homosexuals with a history of drug abuse, intravenous drug users, chronic users of drug that are not injected, babies of women with heavy drug use, and hemophiliacs.

    In the 1980s it was recognized that a vast majority of those with AIDS were long-term drug users. Furthermore, long-term drug use produces many of the symptoms similar to AIDS, such as decreased white blood cell counts, which can be detrimental to one’s immune system. Long-term drug users also experience swelling of the lymph nodes, fever, substantial weight loss, deficits in brain functioning, dementia, and are much more susceptible to infections. It appears that chronic drug users may develop AIDS due to an already weakened immune system caused by their drug use, not because of the HIV virus.

    Long-term drug users who are HIV negative, such as those who abuse heroin, often die from the same disorders that individuals diagnosed with AIDS die from, most notably tuberculosis, pneumonias, and wasting syndrome. Not only do HIV positive and HIV negative drug users die from the same disorders, they also have very similar life expectancies. The average age of death for a HIV negative drug user is 29.6 years, and the average age of death for a HIV positive drug user is 31.5 years.

    Incidentally, once the immune system is undermined, HIV will often appear, as a so-called “passenger virus,” along for the ride, but not causing any trouble. As good scientists know, it is a grave mistake to confuse correlation with causation. Dr. Luc Montaigner, one of the two co-discoverers of HIV, has now admitted that the virus is likely benign. (The other, Dr. Robert Gallo, has flatly refused to address challenges to the HIV-AIDS hypothesis.)

    Finally, the use of hard drugs (cocaine and heroin) skyrocketed in the US during the time when AIDS cases also went through the roof. The first several cases of AIDS were reported at the start of a massive drug epidemic in the United States in 1981. In the 1980s cocaine use increased by 200 times, heroin related hospital visits doubled, millions of nitrate dosages were sold, and the use of amphetamines had increased one hundred-fold from the early to the late 1980’s. Therefore, this drug epidemic parallels the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic, and may be a more logical explanation for its cause. At the very least, the drugs-AIDS correlation bears further scrutiny to examine evidence for and against environmental causes of AIDS.

    12. HIV tests are not necessarily valid and reliable indicators of HIV status.

    Even if HIV were culpable, HIV testing is often invalid and/or unreliable: The HIV test often gives false-positive results. Current infections that weaken the immune system at the time of testing could generate positive results for HIV when in fact the person may be HIV free. Common conditions that can affect the outcome of the test include having the flu at the time of testing, recently receiving a flu shot, being pregnant, or having an autoimmune disorder. Also, some individuals, such as those of African descent, are more likely to test positive than others (i.e., Caucasians). These results are of grave concern considering 1) the lack of evidence that HIV causes AIDS, and 2) the psychological stigma of being HIV positive, and 3) the potential for medical coercion to take harmful AIDS “therapy” in the form of prescription drugs. Such therapies have been forced on pregnant women who test positive for HIV, for example. Drugs targeting fast-killing cells are not what babies should encounter.

    13. AIDS drugs do not prolong life and in fact appear to shorten it.

    The very drugs used to treat individuals with HIV, called antiviral drugs, are so toxic that they may be the cause of a weakened immune system as in advanced stages of AIDS. AZT (‘Azidothymidine’ but sometimes called ‘Zidovudine’ or ‘Retrovir’) was first used for the treatment of cancer because it kills quickly multiplying cells, however, killing cells in people with AIDS causes their condition to worsen, due to their already low blood cell count.

    The efficacy of AZT has never been studied rigorously. In order for the FDA to approve a drug for public use, double-blind, placebo group studies must be conducted. However, due to the excitement of a possible drug to treat this newly found, life threatening disease, participants in the study demanded that they know which group they were in and if it was them who were receiving the AZT. Participants also talked to each other about their side effects, indicating which group they were in, and even switched medications. Thus, a true double-blind, placebo group study was never rigorously performed on this new drug.

    In one trial for AZT, one third of the trial group actually experienced a worsening of their AIDS symptoms. Nine months into the study, one out of five participants died. Further trials have shown similar results. In one study, half of the participants had to discontinue taking AZT due to such severe reactions. Another study found the death rate in those taking AZT to be 25% higher than those not taking AZT. Later researchers have found that AZT is carcinogenic, mutagenic, brain damaging, and toxic to all cells in the human body, especially immune system cells. AZT can cause severe mitochondrial disorders, tumors, blood cancers, anemia, severe birth defects and other disorders.

    The new class of AIDS drugs, called “HAART” (highly active antiretroviral therapy or sometimes ART for short) appear less harsh than AZT, because patients are less likely to die after taking them. One new class of drugs prescribed is called “protease inhibitors,” which were designed to prevent HIV from replicating. If HIV causes AIDS, then eliminating HIV should halt or reverse the progression of AIDS. Curiously, although protease inhibitors do indeed stop HIV, they fail to stop AIDS.

    Although AIDS patients on the new drugs are living longer (as of 2007 published data, median time frame is 30+ years), they are more likely to suffer the following non-AIDS-defining illnesses: atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, liver disease, end-stage renal disease, and non-AIDS–defining malignancies. These supposedly HIV-related metabolic diseases are likely side effects of the new medications. Ironically, some researchers are citing the presence of these new disorders as indicative of the need to start ART even sooner than normal; so instead of starting drug therapy when CD4 counts fall below 200, patients may be urged to begin taking ART when CD4 counts fall below 350 or even 500.

  5. In short, there will never be a vaccine for HIV, because it is harmless enough for people to develop antibodies right away – that is what the test is designed to detect.

    Magic never developed AIDS because all he had was an innocuous retrovirus, “HIV.” He didn’t do hard drugs. He took care of his immune system. Most importantly, he didn’t take any cell-destroying AIDS “treatment.”

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