Montagnier Emphasizes Importance of HIV Prevention Amid Efforts To Develop Vaccine, Cure
Luc Montagnier -- who shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in medicine for his work in the discovery of HIV -- on Monday during a speech in Canada said that the rush to develop an HIV/AIDS vaccine or cure should not deemphasize the importance of prevention, the CP/Google.com reports. According to Montagnier, hopes for a vaccine or cure might be contributing to the spread of HIV by making people complacent about prevention. "It seems that the young generation has forgotten about prevention, because they think there are cures for HIV, that it's no big deal," Montagnier said.
Montagnier also refuted the belief that modern medicine has made HIV/AIDS a controllable, chronic condition, according to the CP/Google.com. "In the long-term they may die not of AIDS but of a side effect: cardiovascular, obesity and hypertension, brain disease," he said, adding that HIV/AIDS is "still a very important disease, and it's not a chronic disease." He also said that clinical trials of vaccine candidates should not be started prematurely, adding, "A lot of money has been spent for nothing by using premature Phase III trials with thousands of patients. At some point it should have been stopped because people are continuing on this same model, and they will fail, all the time."
According to Montagnier, it might be more realistic to focus on treating HIV reservoirs so that the virus can be eradicated over a certain period of time. This also might help highly affected countries decrease stigma that can prevent widespread testing, he added. Montagnier also said that although it might be easier to develop a cure for HIV/AIDS compared with a preventive vaccine, both possibilities likely will not be realized for some time (CP/Google.com, 2/9).