HIV Vaccine ‘At Least’ Five Years Away, Virus Co-Discoverer Says
An HIV vaccine is possible, but is "realistically at least" five years away, HIV co-discoverer Robert Gallo said on Friday at the first World Congress on Men's Health in Vienna, Austria, Reuters Health reports. Gallo said he was referring to the vaccine candidates that are "on paper or in the laboratory setting," noting that he believes "[n]one" of the vaccine candidates currently being tested "will be a success." He added that it will take a "few years" before new candidates are ready for trials and a "few years" to collect data "so the earliest I think we're talking about is not before three, four years and more likely five years." Calling a successful vaccine the "Holy Grail" of HIV/AIDS research, Gallo said he was "more optimistic" about the potential for a successful vaccine than he had been in the past. "I think all of us in the field feel much better now than we did five years ago," he said, adding that at that time "it looked as if there were so many problems, but now there are a number of things that have opened up for an HIV vaccine." Gallo, who now heads the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, also said he envisions AIDS becoming the "largest epidemic in man's history," adding that AIDS is worse than the plague because "we can't get rid of it" even though antiretroviral drugs have made it a "chronic disease" (Reuters Health, 11/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.