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Effective AIDS Vaccine Probably at Least a Decade Away, Researcher Says

March 18, 2002

Important unanswered questions remain in the development of an effective AIDS vaccine, which could be a decade or more away, a top AIDS Researcher said Friday. "Do I think in five years we are going to have a vaccine that is going to prevent AIDS? Probably not," Dr. Anthony Fauci told the President's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. Fauci said clinical trials are underway on a vaccine that seems to have at least partial effect and "some global health good could come of that." In countries with high rates of AIDS infection, a vaccine of even modest effectiveness can have an impact, he explained.

Last month, researchers told an AIDS conference that a new vaccine is showing promise in early human testing, but they cautioned they are still years away from proving it works. Experts believe a vaccine is the only way to stop the worldwide AIDS epidemic, which has already killed 20 million people and infected 40 million more.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Health, outlined his agency's AIDS research for the panel. Asked if he thought an eventual AIDS vaccine would be a one-time injection or would need annual repeats like the flu vaccine, he indicated that periodic boosters would probably be needed. Fauci also warned against becoming complacent, commenting that "we might not yet be at the peak of the HIV pandemic worldwide."

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Excerpted from:
Associated Press
03.15.02; Randolph E. Schmid

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