Researchers at Global HIV/AIDS Vaccine Conference Express Concerns About Funding Levels
October 16, 2008
Experts at the AIDS Vaccine 2008 conference in Cape Town, South Africa, on Tuesday expressed concerns that the current global economic situation could damage funding for AIDS research and vaccine development, the AP/Los Angeles Times reports. The economic situation has "added to the gloom among experts deeply frustrated by ... setbacks" in HIV/AIDS vaccine research, according to the AP/Times. There also are concerns that some groups that are large contributors to health and international development initiatives could reduce funding in light of the economic situation, the AP/Times reports.
Also at the conference, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative said that funding for HIV/AIDS vaccine research should continue even in light of the current economic situation. "My argument would be if you are going to cut, don't cut the little teeny bit that can give you the tolls to end the epidemic," IAVI President and CEO Seth Berkley said (Kahn, Business Day, 10/16).
Fauci said that he could not "realistically" say whether researchers would develop an HIV/AIDS vaccine "in the classical sense," but that does not "mean we are going to give up trying." He added that "historically, vaccines have been the most cost-effective health interventions in history and continue to be so."
The four-day conference opened Monday, and about 900 participants are attending (AP/Los Angeles Times, 10/14). The conference follows a year of several setbacks in HIV vaccine research. Merck in September 2007 announced it had halted a large-scale clinical trial of its experimental HIV vaccine after the drug failed to prevent HIV infection in participants or prove effective in delaying the virus' progression to AIDS. The vaccine candidate also might have put some trial participants at an increased risk of HIV. Following news of the Merck vaccine, trials of NIH's Vaccine Research Center's HIV vaccine candidate were scaled back (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/14).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.