Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
IAVI President Calls For ‘Widespread’ HIV Vaccine Trials in Three Years
International AIDS Vaccine Initiative President Dr. Seth Berkeley said on Monday that he hopes to see a working HIV vaccine in "widespread" trials within three years, BBC News reports. However, even with a successful candidate in trials, it could take an additional five years to set up the manufacturing facilities needed to produce mass quantities of a vaccine, he cautioned. At a vaccine seminar in London, Berkeley called current vaccine efforts "woefully inadequate." Only one vaccine has made it to Phase III trials, the most advanced stage of testing. That vaccine, AIDSVAX, is made from the protein gp120, which resides on the outer surface of the HIV molecule. By introducing a "harmless" portion of the protein into the body, researchers hope to stimulate an immune response. A second vaccine, which uses the "relatively harmless" genetically engineered canarypox virus to introduce HIV proteins into the body, is in Phase II testing. Several other vaccines based on the same principle are also in the early stages of development, BBC News reports. Berkeley said any HIV vaccine has to be available in single-dose form to be effective in developing countries where HIV/AIDS is most devastating. IAVI has also asked companies developing vaccines to ensure that the vaccine would be affordable for developing nations. "[I]f you don't do that, we have the right to take that vaccine and give it to someone else to produce," he added. Berkeley said that "given the magnitude of the challenge," more money is needed to fund research, adding that "[o]nly a vaccine can end the epidemic" (BBC News, 10/22).
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