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Durable end to AIDS will require HIV vaccine development

Recent scientific advances offer promising areas for further exploration


Broader global access to lifesaving antiretroviral therapies and wider implementation of proven HIV prevention strategies could potentially control and perhaps end the HIV/AIDS pandemic. However, a safe and at least moderately effective HIV vaccine is needed to reach this goal more expeditiously and in a more sustainable way, according to a new commentary from Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and colleague Hilary D. Marston, M.D., M.P.H.

In the piece, the authors note that behavioral, cultural and legal factors have hindered HIV prevention and treatment efforts and explain why those factors necessitate the development of an HIV vaccine. Although attempts to develop a vaccine have so far proven disappointing, recent advances offer encouraging areas for HIV vaccine researchers to pursue, according to the authors. Notably, the discovery of naturally occurring broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV and studies of their stimulation in infected individuals have opened new avenues in vaccine development. Using improved understanding of those antibodies and the specific sites on HIV to which they bind, the natural process of antibody evolution could be replicated and greatly expedited allowing protection against initial infection. Significant advances also have been made in understanding T-cell responses that may be important to vaccine-induced immunity against HIV.

The authors conclude that "the HIV prevention community should hold fast to its commitment to vaccine science. Ultimately, we believe, the only guarantee of a sustained end of the AIDS pandemic lies in a combination of nonvaccine prevention methods and the development and deployment of a safe and sufficiently effective HIV vaccine."


AS Fauci and HD Marston. Ending AIDS—Is an HIV vaccine necessary? New England Journal of Medicine DOI:10.1056/NEJMp1313771 (2014).

See NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., explain why an HIV vaccine is needed.


NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. is available for interviews.


To schedule interviews, please contact the NIAID Office of Communications, (301) 402-1663,

NIAID conducts and supports research—at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

NIH...Turning Discovery Into Health®

NIAID Office of Communications | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: Aids HIV HIV prevention HIV vaccine Infectious Diseases NIAID NIH health services medical research

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