Prospects for a safe, effective AIDS vaccine are improving as researchers from the public and private sectors begin to collaborate in new and creative ways, researchers said today at the 2005 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
According to the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) approximately 39 million people are living with HIV, and an estimated 4.9 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2004 alone.
New vaccines take decades to create, and the process can be slowed down when researchers work independently. Another reason that we dont have an AIDS vaccine yet is that making drugs for patients already infected with the virus has generally taken top priority. "Given the magnitude of the AIDS epidemic and the complexity of the virus, the world must continue to galvanize resources to develop new prevention technologies, most importantly a vaccine," said Seth Berkley, president of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. "An effective AIDS vaccine is our best hope to stop the spread of HIV." Anthony S. Fauci M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that for the National Institutes of Health, the new paradigm requires expanding beyond basic research. It involves a new focus on product development through alliances with the pharmaceutical industry and other research agencies.
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