Originally Posted by aroc91
Nobody said it, alone, would get rid of the virus. The placebo effect has been demonstrated to increase immune system response in general, release endorphins, and raise body temperature, which actually does help fight bacteria and viruses, as they can be sensitive to higher temperatures; that's the basis for the fever response.
Placebo effect in a vaccine that will last for 3 years? Come on. You'd have to be dense to think that the placebo effect has any bearing in vaccine trials. These people aren't taking a new pain medication on a daily basis. They're getting an injection and wandering off for 3 years to see if they catch HIV, with maybe some boosters in the interim. They mine as well not bother with a placebo group- if anything the placebo group will have higher than average infection rates due to some idiots thinking they're immune and not taking precautions. Oh wait, that's the population they're targeting anyways.
Face it, this is ethical grey area, volunteers or not. Vaccine trials are always grey area because of the consequences of getting the placebo. In this case, if you get the placebo and catch HIV over the course of the study, there is no crossover trial for you. You're just another point of data and will die in 10-20 years depending on the healthcare available to you.
The ethics of drug trials are highly debatable, especially vaccine trials. You accept volunteers who meet your criteria, but you pay them. You inform them of the risks, and then you let them take the risks anyways. You give some the vaccine and some the placebo, but should anyone contract the disease, you have to treat them out of the research funding. There is to be no financial burden put on the subjects as a result of contracting the disease or any issues the vaccine may cause. This is an interesting read, straight from the WHO: http://www.who.int/vaccine_research/documents/ethics/en/index.html
All I'm saying is that I know double-blind clinical trials are necessary, but if the vaccine actually works even 80% of the time, a placebo group would not be necessary because the difference between number of cases in established statistics and number of cases in the vaccinated would be so huge. The placebo group here is to find out exactly the efficacy of the vaccine, which will have a specific percentage, which the drug companies will then consider if they want to use it or not. Necessary to see if the vaccine is worth it, but still letting people die. Like I said before, this isn't pain medication, once someone in the placebo group gets HIV there is no crossover trial for them.Edited by KittensMewMew - 2/8/12 at 9:10pm