HIV Vaccine Could be Available Within Five Years, Gallo Says
Dr. Robert Gallo, a co-discoverer of HIV, on Tuesday during a lecture preceding the dedication of the Charles E. Schmidt Biomedical Science Center at Florida Atlanta University in Boca Raton, Fla., said that an HIV vaccine could be available within five years, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reports. Gallo, who is developing a vaccine with Dr. Luc Montagnier, the other co-discoverer of the virus, said that an HIV vaccine will only be successful if it can prevent the virus from inserting its genetic code into healthy cells. Such a vaccine, he said, would be effective against all strains and mutations of the virus. Other HIV vaccines currently under development allow HIV infection while "attempt[ing] to keep [the infection] under control," Gallo said. "That worries me," he said, asking, "How do you know it will keep the virus down forever?" Gallo and Montagnier are currently researching ways to prevent the virus from entering healthy cells, such as neutralizing antibodies that can block the virus "at the last stage" before it infects a cell. Gallo estimated that their vaccine would be ready for human trials in 18 months. He added that he would want the vaccine to be tested first in countries such as Botswana, where in some towns six out of every 10 adults are estimated to be HIV-positive (McVicar, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 9/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.