Increasing Number of HIV Vaccines Undergoing Human Clinical Trials
An increasing number of HIV vaccines undergoing human clinical trials has led to optimism in the field that progress is being made toward finding an effective HIV/AIDS vaccine, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports. About 24 potential vaccines are currently being tested on 12,000 volunteers throughout the world, and several more vaccines are scheduled to begin clinical trials soon. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases budget for HIV vaccine research has grown from $182 million in fiscal year 1999 to $456 million in FY 2004, and on Sept. 29 the agency awarded $81 million in contracts to four groups working on HIV vaccine development. At least a dozen drug companies are developing vaccines, according to the AP/Sun. "I'm certainly more optimistic than just a couple of years ago," Dr. Robert Gallo, head of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland, said, adding, "We can see the light at the end of the tunnel." However, NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said, "I tend to stay away from the word 'optimism.' I see things happening that make me feel better about the process. But I don't want to give an impression that this is a new dawn in America. We still have a long way to go" (Elias, AP/Las Vegas Sun, 10/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.