Experimental AIDS vaccine appears to actually work

Good news, if the results are confirmed:

For the first time, an experimental vaccine has prevented infection with the AIDS virus, a watershed event in the deadly epidemic and a surprising result. Recent failures led many scientists to think such a vaccine might never be possible.

The vaccine cut the risk of becoming infected with HIV by more than 31 percent in the world’s largest AIDS vaccine trial of more than 16,000 volunteers in Thailand, researchers announced Thursday in Bangkok.

Now, 31% isn’t a “cure” and I’d argue that such a low rate of protection doesn’t really qualify as a “vaccine” in the manner we’ve come to understand that term. But it’s a tremendous improvement over other attempts and strongly suggests a path for continued experimentation. The full study is going to be released next month in Paris.

Kudos, by the way, to the US Army for providing lead scientists to this effort.