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Time to move on from a failed model?

Posted by plosmedicine on 31 Mar 2009 at 00:28 GMT

Author: Margaret Clotworthy
Position: Science Consultant
Institution: Safer Medicines Trust
E-mail: margaret@safermedicines.org
Submitted Date: August 13, 2008
Published Date: August 18, 2008
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

If you keep doing what you have always done, you will keep getting what you have always got. In the case of using NHPs to find a vaccine against HIV, that is precisely nothing.

Surely it is time to focus on trying more human biology-focused methods of testing potential vaccine candidates?

For example: an article in Time magazine on 27 March described VaxDesign's Modular Immune In vitro Construct. This enables researchers to test vaccine candidates on in vitro versions of the immune systems from hundreds of volunteers who have donated blood which contains peripheral blood mononucleocytes. This is a technology supported by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, and because it uses human material, it offers advantages that NHP-based tests simply cannot.

Competing interests declared: Dr Margaret Clotworthy is a Science Consultant for Safer Medicines Trust.
Safer Medicines Trust is a UK registered charity (number 1039411) which focuses on scientific analysis of animal experimentation to assess the balance of help or harm to human health.