South African Universities To Begin Trials in 2004 for Southern Africa-Specific AIDS Vaccine
The University of Cape Town and the University of Stellenbosch expect to begin trials in 2004 of an AIDS vaccine targeting the strain of HIV that is prevalent in Southern Africa, the Associated Press reports (Associated Press, 3/22). The plans were announced on Saturday at the African Human Genome Initiative conference, which examined the social, ethical, legal, educational, biomedical and biotechnological implications of the Human Genome Project. Carolyn Williamson from the University of Cape Town's Institute of Molecular Medicine said that the development of a vaccine to protect people from HIV is a "long-term goal" and should not supplant prevention and treatment programs in the region. "We are dealing with a virus that is able to mutate and recombine all the time ... and we are no closer to discovering a cure than we were when HIV was first discovered," she said. David Bourne of UCT's School of Public Health, said that the South African government should "reconsider its position on antiretroviral drugs," according to the South African Press Association. Bourne added that the most "cost effective way to deal with the impact of AIDS orphans" is to "keep their parents alive longer" with antiretroviral drugs (South African Press Association, 3/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.