Nobel Prize Winner Montagnier Predicts Therapeutic HIV Vaccine in Four to Five Years
A therapeutic HIV vaccine could be developed within four to five years, Luc Montagnier, one of three recipients of the 2008 Nobel Prize in medicine, said Saturday at a news conference in Stockholm, Sweden, the AP/Kansas City Star reports (Nordstrom, AP/Kansas City Star, 12/6). According to Reuters, researchers are working to develop a vaccine that would prevent HIV infection or a therapeutic vaccine that would control the virus after infection, making it less transmittable to others. Montagnier, director of the World Foundation for AIDS Research and Prevention, said that he and his colleagues have been working on a therapeutic vaccine for about 10 years, adding, "Our job, of course, is to find complimentary treatment to eradicate the infection." Montagnier also said, "I hope to see in my lifetime the eradication of, not the AIDS epidemic, but at least the infection. This could be achieved" (Cox, Reuters, 12/6).
According to the AP/Star, attempts to discover an HIV/AIDS vaccine have "proved elusive in the past," and some recent trials have been halted (AP/Kansas City Star, 12/6).
"Before we get a vaccine, there are many ways to reduce the contaminations by improving ways of life standards in developing and poor countries, in giving them more advice," Montagnier said (AFP/Yahoo! News, 12/6). Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, a researcher with the Pasteur Institute who shared the Nobel prize with Montagnier, at the news conference said that researchers "have responsibility to try to influence, especially the politicians." She added, "Still, 25 years after the HIV discovery, (there is) discrimination, stigmatization against HIV-infected individuals, even criminalization," which is "really not acceptable" (Reuters, 12/6). Barre-Sinoussi also said that it is impossible to predict when a preventive HIV vaccine would be available and that researchers should continue their efforts to develop one (AFP/Yahoo! News, 12/6).
According to the AP/Star, Montagnier and Barre-Sinoussi will share half of the $1.2 million prize, and the other half will go to Harald zur Hausen, a German researcher who linked the human papillomavirus with cervical cancer. The award will be given to the researchers on Wednesday (AP/Kansas City Star, 12/6).