The overall expected rate of infection was not reduced in the high-risk people who volunteered to take the vaccine, VaxGen said late Sunday. However, the expected infection rate for the 314 black volunteers who received the vaccine was reduced by 78 percent — a finding the researchers said was unexpected. The rate was reduced by 67 percent for all non-white volunteers other than Hispanics.
“This is the first time we have specific numbers to suggest that a vaccine has prevented HIV infection in humans,” VaxGen vice president Phillip Berman said in a statement Sunday. “We’re not sure yet why certain groups have a better immune response.”
The Brisbane, California, company said it planned to continue developing the vaccine and will examine more closely why it worked better in blacks and Asians than it did in whites and Hispanics.
“We don’t know why. There’s a lot of factors that could be involved,” Berman said Monday in a conference call, specifying factors such as geography, age and education. “We need to investigate each one of these possibilities.”
Genetic factors may be at play, the company said.
Genetic factors? What sort of genetics, since all reputable scientists know that “race doesn’t exist.” Of course, the other factors might be be at play and explain the discrepancy (perhaps repeated sexual exposure to multiple strains of the virus?).