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A vaccine that looked promising for HIV doesn’t work

February 4, 2020, 1:52 AM UTC

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Good afternoon, readers.

At this point, I think we’re all aware that the coronavirus is a matter of concern (but, for those of us lucky enough to be in a nation with a strong health infrastructure, not too much of a concern).

The World Health Organization and others are keeping track of the spread of this coronavirus, as well as the progress of containment and treatment that is crucial to the health and well-being of millions of people in the affected countries.

But there’s been some other news this week about other virus containment that is, frankly, upsetting. Clinical trials for a vaccine to treat HIV have been nixed after being found ineffective.

The study, in South Africa, had been touted as what could, eventually, become a pioneering light in the struggle against the scourge.

Alas, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said on Monday that the trial wouldn’t come to fruition. It wasn’t unsafe, per se-but it also wasn’t effective. Don’t take it from me—those were the words the director of the NIAID Dr. Anthony Fauci issued in a written statement.

The news is an unfortunate reminder that though the new coronavirus strain is on everybody’s mind, it is far from the most devastating health issue facing the world. The new strain has reportedly led to the deaths of around 425 people to date with about 20,000 infected, per Chinese health officials. But HIV infects an average of 1.7 million people are newly infected with HIV every year.

That’s not to discount the nature of the coronavirus threat. Any public health concern should be taken seriously. But seeing these numbers today is a reminder to me that it’s important to look beyond the health crisis of the moment and, as always, to put things in perspective.

Read on for the rest of the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee
sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com
@the_sy_guy

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INDICATIONS

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