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4 of the Least Successful Vaccines in Medical History

By    |   Saturday, 27 June 2015 09:43 PM

Vaccines have a history of helping people throughout the world, but research on vaccines to prevent some of the most deadly diseases has left researchers frustrated.

Here are four experimental vaccines that have not been successful.

1. HIV
In April 2013, a large government-funded HIV vaccine study was halted by the National Institutes of Health, dashing hopes after it failed to prevent AIDS infections or cut down the amount of the virus in bloodstreams when recipients of such a shot later became infected, The Guardian reported.

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Researchers at the NIH said valuable information had been gleaned from the study, which used a "prime boost" strategy to "train" the immunity T cells to attack HIV-infected cells. But, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, told The Guardian: "It's disappointing."

2. Tuberculosis
In February 2013, researchers at Oxford University said a new vaccine to protect against tuberculosis had failed to protect babies from the disease when tested in a trial study.

"The vaccine induced modest immune responses against TB in the infants, but these were much lower than those previously seen in adults, and were insufficient to protect against the disease," said Professor Helen McShane, who promised she would not give up on a new vaccine, The Guardian reported.

An estimated 1.4 million people die worldwide each year from tuberculosis.

3. Malaria
Researchers from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said in November 2012 that a clinical trial of a much-anticipated RTS, S malaria vaccine showed disappointing results in protecting infants.

“The efficacy came back lower than we had hoped, but developing a vaccine against a parasite is a very hard thing to do,” said Bill Gates said in a statement about the results, according to the journal Nature. “The trial is continuing and we look forward to getting more data to help determine whether and how to deploy this vaccine"

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4. Whooping Cough
A pertussis vaccine that was successful for many years seems to be weakening as outbreaks were reported in California amid a debate over mandatory vaccinations, The Sacramento Bee reported in 2014. Even as immunization rates were high there, infection rates were rising, with the vaccine's protection wearing off after several years.

An initial whooping cough vaccine was developed after widespread outbreaks of the disease in the 1940s. Some children had bad reactions to it, including both seizures and high fevers, the Bee noted. A new version of the vaccine that was developed weakened protections.

“Children who were vaccinated did not receive the protection desired,” Kate McAuley, program coordinator of communicable disease and immunization at the Sacramento County Public Health Department, told the Bee. “We had many high-school-aged children who had pertussis. They had received vaccines. The vaccine is lasting two to three years.”

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Vaccines have a history of helping people throughout the world, but research on vaccines to prevent some of the most deadly diseases has left researchers frustrated.
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Saturday, 27 June 2015 09:43 PM
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