On May 18, the world recognized HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, which "commemorates the global effort to develop a safe and effective vaccine that will protect against HIV," according to a USAID email alert. "While there have been some disappointing recent results in the HIV vaccine field, the stalwart march to discover this critical tool is evident in the over 40 clinical trials that are ongoing or planned to begin in 2013," the alert states. The following bulletin, blog posts and opinion piece address HIV Vaccine Awareness Day and vaccine research efforts.
- AIDS.gov: The AIDS.gov blog spoke to researcher Carl Dieffenbach at NIH, who said, "(On Vaccine Awareness Day) we can take a moment to acknowledge the study participants who have given their time, their energy, ... to the study of HIV vaccines." A video of the interview is available online (Gomez, 5/17).
- NIH News: "Developing a safe and effective HIV vaccine has been a long and difficult process largely because HIV has proven to be an especially tough target," this NIH bulletin states and summarizes multiple HIV vaccine research projects. "On this HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, NIAID thanks the thousands of men and women who have selflessly volunteered for clinical studies and the scientists and clinicians working to find an effective HIV vaccine. NIAID shares your commitment and will continue the important research needed to make a protective HIV vaccine a reality," the bulletin concludes (5/17).
- Margaret McGlynn, USAID's "IMPACTblog": Despite recent disappointing news in HIV vaccine research, "history has taught us that such setbacks are par for the course in vaccine development," IAVI President and CEO McGlynn writes in a post on the USAID blog. "With the support of donors, especially USAID and [PEPFAR], IAVI and its partners are contributing to [research] efforts on several fronts, focusing primarily on vaccines against HIV subtypes that circulate in developing countries and emphasizing novel vaccine strategies," she states, adding, "All the evidence today suggests that, if we persevere, it is just a matter of time before HIV vaccines become available" (5/17).
- Colonel Nelson Michael, AIDS.gov: "Despite [recent] setbacks, the scientific basis for developing vaccines has never been better, and the current level of collaboration among scientists, private industry and research institutions is unprecedented," Michael, director of the U.S. Military HIV Research Program, writes in the AIDS.gov blog. "We will need a broad array of prevention tools -- many of which are available today -- to overcome HIV," he states, adding, "An effective vaccine remains a critical component of any long-term strategy. Now is not the time to give up, but to redouble our efforts" (5/17).
- Mitchell Warren, Huffington Post's "Impact" blog: "The road to an effective AIDS vaccine remains a long one, but we can reach that goal," AVAC Director Warren writes, highlighting several HIV vaccine trials. "This year, in the midst of both disappointments and successes, we are reminded that the contribution of trial participants is the most essential element of HIV vaccine research and development," he states, adding, "Their shared commitments and sacrifices demand that we continue working toward the breakthroughs that will ultimately bring the epidemic to an end" (5/16).
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