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June 13, 2008

Vaccine Trials: Too Risky for U.S. Teens?

Testing potential AIDS vaccines in teens may be justifiable in countries with extremely high HIV prevalence but not in countries with comparatively lower prevalence, such as the United States, reports a panel of advisors to the Food and Drug Administration, according to Bloomberg (, 6/9).

The panel says that the trials’ risks may not outweigh their benefits in the United States. “There was agreement that AIDS trials in adolescents should take place in countries where adolescents are at higher risk for AIDS,” said the panel’s chairman, Norman Fost, a pediatrics professor at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

According to the article, knowledge about vaccine effects on children is limited, raising uncertainty and risk. “In any disease, doctors who take care of adults have more scientific evidence to use than those taking care of children,” said Eric Kodish, chairman of the department of bioethics at the Cleveland Clinic.

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