Scientific Consensus, Tighter Funding Restrictions Needed To Avoid Duplicate HIV Vaccine Studies, IAVI Official Says
The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative wants a stronger scientific consensus on priorities for developing an HIV/AIDS vaccine and a more regulated funding system to avoid "duplication and a wasted use of resources," a senior IAVI official told a meeting of the Global Forum for Health Research in Mumbai, India, on Tuesday, Reuters reports. IAVI Senior Vice President for Public Policy Robert Hecht said, "There is that danger we see right now in AIDS vaccines, a lot of so-called 'me too' or similar vaccines being tested," adding, "We estimate that through a series of coordinated and targeted efforts, the timeline [for developing an effective HIV vaccine] could be speeded up by as much as 50%." More than 30 HIV vaccine candidates are in clinical trials worldwide, but scientists are not confident any of them will be effective in quashing HIV because the virus frequently mutates, according to Reuters. Hecht said the approximately $680 million spent worldwide annually on vaccine research falls short by hundreds of millions of dollars. He added that antiretroviral drug treatment programs are expected to cost $4 billion in 2005 and will continue to increase, making the need to find a vaccine "urgent" in order to prevent new infections (Reuters, 9/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.