Answering a Question about Safety and HIV Research for Children
May 19, 2011
This week for HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, the Foundation’s Vice President of Research Dr. Laura Guay issued a statement
about the importance of including children in future AIDS vaccine clinical trials.
On our Facebook
page, one of our readers expressed concern about the potential risks, and asked whether it was safe for infants and children to be a part of these types of trials.
We thought this would be a good opportunity to discuss the issue further on our blog.
Here Dr. Guay explains the safety protocols that are a requirement for any studies which involve children, and why we feel it’s so important that this critical research takes into account the needs of children:
“Thanks so much for your comment. HIV vaccines absolutely
need to be tested in adults for safety
prior to testing in children. Once safety in adults is verified, testing should begin in children with small studies that include extensive safety monitoring before proceeding to larger studies that test whether the vaccine works to protect children from HIV.
Otherwise, when an effective vaccine is found, children will be left behind without access to this life-saving protection until all these studies are completed much later.
All current vaccine research, as well as research involving children, is conducted according to strict ethical guidelines that are carefully reviewed for regulatory and ethical issues prior to approval. This includes review by relevant authorities in the country where the study is taking place, to ensure that adults and children who participate in research in resource-limited settings are protected.
Unfortunately, these are the populations that are most at risk of acquiring HIV, and therefore they are most in need of the prevention methods that are being tested.”
We appreciate all of your comments and questions on Facebook
, and our blog
– it gives us a chance to engage in a dialogue about our shared goal: the elimination of pediatric AIDS.
To read more about how an HIV vaccine would particularly benefit children, read Dr. Jeffrey Safrit’s blog
on this topic from earlier in the week.
Robert Yule is the Foundation’s Senior Media Relations Manager in Washington, D.C.