Trials for an HIV vaccine developed by the US government have been cancelled amidst calls for scientists to go back to the basics.

Plans to trial the vaccine, known as PAVE (Partnership of AIDS Vaccine Evaluation), have been held back with scientists citing concerns over the disasters of last year’s Merck trials.

US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr Anthony Fauci has said scientists must return to more fundamental research to gain a better understanding of the immune system before moving on to human trials of HIV vaccines.

Dr Fauci’s decision to cancel this month’s human trial was made after it became apparent that scientists still had no idea why the Merck trials had failed.

Positive Life spokesperson Rob Lake said the move, while disappointing, was not surprising.

It is disappointing, but given the problems associated with the Merck vaccine trial cancelled last year people are rightly wary of human trials, he told Sydney Star Observer.

These are the first trials to move from lower trials to human trials so it is important that scientists don’t go to that point until they’re absolutely ready.

It’s just a reflection of how big a blow the Merck trial was. People had such high hopes and it failed in such a big way that it’s really changed the whole way the issue is approached. It’s made people more cautious.

It is an extremely complex process and I would be surprised if there were still people who were still dramatically holding on, looking for a vaccine. The lack of progress, the difficulties with it -” anyone who was really thinking that the answer is in a vaccine, they’re perhaps being incredibly optimistic.

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