Speakers at French HIV/AIDS Vaccine Conference Underscore Urgency in AIDS Vaccine Development, Distribution
HIV/AIDS is now at the top of the "Richter scale" of international diseases, and the need for a safe and effective AIDS vaccine is urgent, according to speakers at the 13th Cent Gardes Symposium on HIV and AIDS Vaccines in Annecy, France, which concluded yesterday, Reuters Health reports. Dr. Robin Weiss of University College London, who was one of the speakers on Sunday at the opening of the conference, said HIV is now spreading faster than hepatitis B, hepatitis C, measles and influenza. Dr. Wayne Koff of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative also spoke of the "sense of urgency" associated with the development of an AIDS vaccine, Reuters Health reports. He said IAVI still did not have a vaccine candidate inducing effective antibodies against HIV, adding that 15,000 people become infected with HIV every day. In addition, Koff said that researchers today still cannot answer questions asked at the Cent Gardes conference 13 years ago. Koff added that once a safe and effective vaccine is developed, IAVI plans to "commit substantial resources" to engineering and manufacturing the vaccine in order to distribute it to HIV-positive people. "It would be unconscionable if we identify a vaccine that is safe and effective in the clinical trials and then are not able to make this vaccine available as fast as possible," Koff said (Mitchell, Reuters Health, 10/28).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.