AIDS Advisory Committee ‘Tackles’ Research Ethics in Developing NationsNational Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci Tuesday announced that the agency will create a "new vision" of international AIDS research to address the "growing" ethical concerns of conducting research with human subjects in developing nations, Reuters Health reports. The National Bioethics Advisory Commission "within weeks" is scheduled to release its final report that will offer NIAID recommendations for tighter ethical standards in human research conducted in developing countries, including rules requiring researchers to develop methods of providing successful interventions to communities hosting the experiments.
While scientists search for the most effective ways to deliver HIV medications to the countries most devastated by the epidemic, they've found that some of the nations lack the "physical and technological infrastructure" required to maintain ongoing care. Administering medications to reduce the number of AIDS deaths is "extremely expensive and complex" because patients require ongoing blood testing and monitoring and must follow complicated drug regimens. Dr. Henry Balfour of the University of Minnesota said, "If you don't have the diagnosis, the monitoring capabilities and the therapeutic interventions, (international AIDS efforts are) going to fail." Fauci told members of the AIDS research advisory committee that "one of the major weaknesses and faults of previous efforts ... was in the area of sustainability." The new philosophy will be "to embrace our colleagues in the host countries." NIAID AIDS division Director Dr. Jack Killen "stressed" that the ongoing NIAID research and interventions will "take into account the health priorities of each host country involved" (Zwillich, Reuters Health, 1/31).