Africa Needs More Than Drugs To Combat AIDS, Gallo Says; Wolfowitz Urges Private Sector To Aid Development
In addition to antiretroviral drugs and vaccine research, Africa needs increased research on how best to administer antiretroviral drugs among various populations, Robert Gallo, a co-discoverer of HIV and head of the University of Maryland Institute of Human Virology, said on Thursday at the U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Baltimore, the SAPA/AP/Mail & Guardian reports. Simply supplying African countries with antiretroviral drugs is "not scientifically sound" because such behavior could lead to drug-resistant HIV strains, Gallo said at the four-day summit, which was hosted by the Corporate Council on Africa and attended by more than 2,000 people, including six heads of state. Gallo also urged the Bush administration to divert some of the money being spent on bioterrorism preparedness to fight HIV/AIDS in U.S. inner cities. More funding would provide researchers and medical workers with real-world experience and "go a long way to preparing for any kind of microbe," Gallo said. Calling AIDS the "greatest microbial threat in the history of mankind," Gallo said that if the private sector fails to "invest in the health of the African people now, there will be little to invest in" (SAPA/AP/Mail & Guardian, 6/24).
World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, who also spoke at the summit on Thursday, emphasized the importance of the private sector in helping Africa's development, the AP/Yahoo! News reports. "The record is clear over the past 50 years -- the countries that have developed successfully have developed strong private sectors," he said (Dominguez, AP/Yahoo! News, 6/23). "Governments and donors need to increase their efforts to include the business community in policy-making decisions," he added (MacInnis, Reuters/Yahoo! News, 6/23). Wolfowitz just returned from a one-week trip to Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Rwanda and South Africa to assess how best to alleviate poverty, curb the spread of HIV and malaria and improve overall development in Africa (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/20).