According to The Independent, a mood of deep pessimism has spread among the international community of AIDS scientists after the trial of a promising vaccine failed at the end of last year. It was the latest in a series of setbacks in a 25-year struggle to develop an HIV vaccine.

In fact, according to a poll conducted by the The Independent, most scientists involved in AIDS research believe that a vaccine against HIV is further away than ever and some have admitted that effective immunization against the virus may never be possible.
What went wrong?

It turns out that one of the major realizations to emerge from the failed clinical trial – which involved the most promising prototype HIV vaccine – was that an important animal model used for more than a decade does not work. The model involves testing possible vaccines on monkeys before they are used on humans.

The prototype HIV vaccine appeared to work well when tested on monkeys infected with an artificial virus, but failed to have any effect on human volunteers at risk of HIV. In fact, the vaccine, which was created by the drug company Merck and Co, may have actually increased the incidence of AIDS among those people to receive it.

Anthony Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), near Washington, told The Independent that the animal model – which uses genetically engineered simian and human immunodeficiency viruses in a combination, known as SHIV – failed to predict what will happen when a prototype vaccine is moved from laboratory monkeys to people. “We’ve learnt a few important things [from the clinical trial]. We’ve learnt that one of the animal models, the SHIV model, really doesn’t predict very well at all,” he said.
“At least we now know that you can get a situation where it looks like you are protecting against SHIV and you’re not protecting at all in the human model – that’s important,” he said.
Robert Gallo, a prominent Aids researcher in the US who is credited with co-discovering the virus in the early 1980s, likened the vaccine’s failure to the Challenger disaster, which forced Nasa to ground the space shuttle fleet for years.

After reading about this fiasco, I wish I could tell the international AIDS community “we could have told you so!” For years now, Dr. Marshall has been writing and lecturing about the fact that trials on animals can seldom be effectively applied to humans. His reasoning: even primates, a species considered to be evolutionarily similar to man, have Vitamin D Receptors that differ greatly from those of humans.

The Vitamin D Receptor is a fundamental receptor of the body that serves as a gatekeeper to the innate immune system. Particularly in a disease such as HIV, where the innate immune system and the receptors that control its activity are front and center in determining progression of the disease, the fact that properties of the Vitamin D Receptor differs substantially between primates and humans must be given great consideration before any experiment is performed using monkeys as models.

Unfortunately, because they arn’t familiar with the Marshall Pathogenesis or the importance of the VDR, AIDS researchers have wasted an estimated 500 million dollars on the failed prototype vaccine.

Now, Merck and Co are now at a loss for how to proceed when it comes towards developing a potential AIDS vaccine. Apparently, in the coming months, Fauci and team will be refocusing the vaccine effort away from expensive clinical trials towards more fundamental research to understand the basic biology of the virus and its effects on the human immune system.
Several scientists polled by The Independent admitted that an HIV vaccine may never be developed, and even those who believe that one could appear within the next 10 years added caveats saying that such a vaccine would be unlikely to work as a truly effective prophylactic against infection by the virus.

They are correct. It’s doubtful that an effective AIDS vaccine can by developed when scientists are still not considering how infection with the TH1 pathogens predisposes the public to HIV. Surely any useful vaccine will have to manage the Th1 pathogens as well as the HIV virus.
But perhaps the most disheartening thought to emerge from the realization that the ape immune system cannot be counted on to mimic that of humans is that of the billions of dollars currently being spent on researching inflammatory disease in mice. While the human and primate VDRs differ to a certain extent, the rat VDR is vastly different from the human VDR. If trials on primates are failing to yield results, then how many studies on mice, whose VDRs barely resemble those of man, are headed or have already led to failure?

With this in mind it’s easy to understand how each year billions of dollars are pumped into research on chronic disease, yet Marshall Protocol aside, no curative treatment options have been found for even a single inflammatory illness.