Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 30, 2019 – Twenty-two months after announcing an investigation into an unethical herpes vaccine trial in St Kitts, the people of the twin-island federation are still waiting for the report from the Timothy Harris-led Team Unity Government. In August 2017, the St Kitts and Nevis Ministry of Health announced that it had initiated an investigation into the use of a private residence in St. Kitts to carry out an unethical herpes vaccine trial orchestrated by a United States researcher, William Halford, a Southern Illinois University professor who injected patients with an experimental herpes vaccine.
At the private home in St Kitts, Halford organized two groups of 10 participants and instructed them on drawing their own blood for the trial, according to a video filmed in a medical lab.
He proceeded with the trial in St Kitts from April to August 2016, giving participants three shots over three months.
Once in St. Kitts, many of them quickly bonded with one another and Halford. Even though they ranged in age from their 20s to 40s and came from different regions, they had the disease in common. They commiserated about how herpes had wreaked havoc on their lives.
“It was a relief to meet people who understood what we were talking about,” the Southerner said.
But other participants now say they noticed some troubling signs.
After the scandal broke in the American newspapers, Prime Minister Harris’ Government announced in August 2017 that it was launching an investigation to be conducted by the St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force. The opposition St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party has been critical of placing the investigation into the hands of police, suggesting it should be carried out jointly by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer, the Customs Department in the Ministry of Finance and the Immigration Department in the Ministry of National Security to unsure it is not swept under the carpet.