Wealthy Nations Should Provide ‘Needed Cash’ for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Development, Editorial Says
The HIV/AIDS pandemic will "fade into memory as a bygone horror" only when "scientists can conjure an effective AIDS vaccine" and wealthy nations "come through with the needed cash" to fund clinical trials, a Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial says. The development of an effective vaccine is "further away than most imagine," in part because HIV "mutates so speedily that scientists often find last month's promising attack plan is useless against the virus as it appears today," the editorial says. However, the "long wait" for a vaccine cannot be "blamed solely on HIV's clever evasion tactics" because "global neglect" of vaccine development is a "huge factor," according to the Star Tribune. All of the 30 potential vaccines currently being tested in 19 countries "rely on the same narrow immunological theory," meaning that if one trial fails, "all are likely to flop," the editorial says. In addition, research for a vaccine is "playing a flimsy second fiddle" to "desperately needed" antiretroviral drugs, with current global spending for vaccine development totaling only $650 million, the Star Tribune writes. However, "money isn't everything," and greater coordination between researchers also is needed to "assure investigation of many different strategies at once" in order to "propel more vaccine candidates into large-scale trials" and "pick up the testing pace," the editorial says. Wealthy nations and "committed philanthropists" therefore should double the current vaccine research funding because, "until a vaccine is found and deployed, the world's worst epidemic will continue to rage," the Star Tribune concludes (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 8/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.