Scientists and patients around the globe may have had their hopes falsely raised last month when researchers testing an AIDS vaccine announced that its subjects were 31 percent less likely to become infected. Though that number isn't high enough to justify licensing a vaccine, attention was paid because no trial in the past 20 years had been able to boast any protection against the virus. However, further stages of the trial, which took place over three years with 16,400 Thai men and women, soon revealed that the benefits of the vaccine were statistically insignificant. Varying analyses of the results all produced statistically insignificant numbers, and Raphael Dolin of Harvard Medical School said the vaccine was "unlikely to be a public health control measure." But not all hope is lost; researchers assert that the final analysis, though disappointing, can point them in the right direction down the albeit rocky road.