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G-8 Backing For Accelerating Hiv Vaccine Welcomed

UN Agencies Welcome G-8 Backing For Accelerating Hiv Vaccine Development

Two United Nations agencies today welcomed the endorsement by the leaders of the Group of Eight most-industrialized countries of a new international consortium for accelerating the development of an HIV vaccine.

The announcement yesterday in support of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise at the G-8 summit in Sea Island, Georgia was hailed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) as a boon to the efforts in finding a way to immunize people against the deadly disease.

“The G-8’s endorsement of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise is a vital boost to help it forge the strategic planning, collaboration and global investment of resources by governments and industry that is commensurate with the intensive effort required to develop a globally accessible and affordable HIV vaccine,” UNAIDS Executive Director Dr. Peter Piot said.

Adding to Dr. Piot’s comments, WHO Director-General Dr. Lee Jong-wook said it would “bring a new political and financial dimension” to addressing the complex challenge of developing a safe and effective vaccine.

Though more than 40 million people live with HIV/AIDS and millions more become infected each year, vaccine development has been slow, due mainly to the enormous scientific, logistical and financial challenges involved.

Since the discovery of HIV as the cause of AIDS in the early 1980s, multiple vaccine candidates have been tested in more than 70 human clinical trials with moderate success. Only one vaccine candidate so far has concluded the stage of definitive trials and it did not show any noticeable level of efficacy, according to a joint news release by WHO and UNAIDS.

The Enterprise, proposed by an international group of scientists, aims to enhance global collaboration and information sharing among the world’s HIV vaccine researchers. The Enterprise will develop a strategic plan for development, testing and production of HIV candidate vaccines in collaboration with major national and international partners, as well as vaccine manufacturers.

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