HIV Vaccine Development Field Has Made ‘Significant Progress,’ Faces Many Challenges, Opinion Piece Says
Scientists and researchers in recent years have "made significant progress" in HIV vaccine development, and they continue to tackle "some of the toughest remaining" challenges, Seth Berkley, president and CEO of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, and UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot write in an Albany Times-Union opinion piece. According to the authors, four "critical" actions must be taken to speed HIV vaccine development. Scientists must first fast track testing of the "most promising existing approaches" by rapidly mobilizing trials in communities with high numbers of HIV cases and where preliminary efficacy data can be collected quickly, Berkley and Piot write.
Researchers also need to speed innovation and development of new, improved vaccine candidate classes, they write. According to the authors, the vaccine development field also needs to improve research capacities in countries most affected by the pandemic, as well as make increased efforts to boost developing countries' health care infrastructures to enable the distribution of a vaccine when it is developed. Lastly, the authors write that "novel incentives" must be provided to attract the participation of the biotechnology community and leading scientists.
"As AIDS continues to ravage the globe ... we need to do everything possible to treat and care for those who are currently infected, while simultaneously pursuing new prevention technologies," Berkley and Piot write. They conclude, "We call on the global community to do its part; to redouble its long-term political and financial commitment toward developing an AIDS vaccine -- our best tool for preventing the continuing spread and devastation of this pandemic" (Berkley/Piot, Albany Times-Union, 5/22).