|‘HIV vaccine inevitable’|
|Wednesday, 12 September 2012 00:00|
Scientists and scholars have singled out economical, biological, political and ethical challenges as some of the major factors slowing down the development of an HIV vaccine. Speaking to The Herald on the sidelines of the Aids Vaccine Conference in Boston, director of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise Mr Bill Snow said with sound and well-financed implementation, new HIV prevention strategies could produce important reductions in the 2,5 million HIV infections occurring each year.
He said scientists attending the conference would present more than 400 new research studies updating global progress in the search for a safe and effective HIV vaccine.
“HIV vaccine research is in its most promising era since the epidemic began,” he said.
Mr Snow said the development of a safe and effective Aids vaccine remains central to efforts to bring the world significantly closer to the end of this epidemic.
He said the HIV vaccine is inevitable and there is need for political and economic will.
A landmark 2009 HIV vaccine study known as RV144 in Thailand demonstrated the first proof of concept that an Aids vaccine can prevent infection, he said. Mr Snow said Aids Vaccine 2012 would follow up with new research exploring potential mechanisms on how and why that vaccine candidate may have worked.
It would also present new data on the workings of the human immune system that could help steer future vaccine design; and share updates on new neutralising antibodies that protect against a wide range of HIV strains, which are driving new technologies.
The conference programmme includes other potentially more powerful emerging immunological approaches to enhance HIV vaccine delivery and development.
Chairman of Aids Vaccine 2012 Mr Galit Alter said new ideas and novel perspectives were eminently needed to achieve an HIV vaccine as soon as possible.
“Past approaches to vaccine design and testing have not yet yielded a safe and effective vaccine that the world so urgently needs.
“At Aids Vaccine 2012, we will hear how scientists, many who are new to the field, are using novel technologies and out-of-the-box approaches to take HIV vaccine research to the next phase of discovery to help end this epidemic,” said Mr Galit.
The process of developing an HIV vaccine has already proven to be extremely difficult, costly and time-consuming.
Aids Vaccine 2012, the world’s only scientific meeting dedicated exclusively to HIV vaccine research, runs from September 9-12.
The annual Aids vaccine meeting is hosted by the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, a unique collaboration of HIV vaccine research, funding, advocacy and stakeholder organisations.
The local hosts for Aids Vaccine 2012 are the Harvard University Centre for Aids Research and the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.