Research Ethics Roundup: HIV vaccine trial halted, recovering from Sandy, and more

Hopefully April showers have brought you May flowers! We’ve done some weeding ourselves and have found some articles of interest for this week’s edition of our Research Ethics Roundup.

NIH Stops HIV Vaccine Trial: The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases halted its HVTN 505 study, the largest HIV vaccine study of its kind, after an independent monitoring board found during a routine interim review that the vaccine failed to either prevent new infections or decrease the viral load of those who were infected. Over 2,500 volunteers in nineteen cities around the country participated in the trial, which began in 2009.

The Psychology of Lying: A New York Times Magazine profile of Diederik Stapel, the Dutch social science researcher who has admitted to faking research results for at least 55 studies, provides insight into his motivations for committing such extensive fraud.

Hurricane Sandy Research Recovery: New York University brain researcher Gordon Fishell shares his post-Hurricane Sandy recovery experience. Most of Fishell’s mice died after their basement animal colony flooded; some of his colleagues lost years’ worth of research. Fishell states that he was overwhelmed with offers from colleagues and competitors to assist him in rebuilding his research program.

Harvard’s Primate Research Center to Close: Harvard Medical School announced that it will be shutting down its New England Primate Research Center over the next two years due to financial uncertainties. The school stated that citations from the US Department of Agriculture in recent years were not a factor in the decision to close the program. All 2,000 primates at the facility will be moved to other laboratories across the country.