Health ministers and officials from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden, along with a representative of the European Commission, this week issued a call for better lab coordination and collaboration in the search for an HIV vaccine, Agence France-Presse reports. At a meeting in Paris, the officials issued a statement calling for "strengthening collaboration in efforts developed by research capacity" and for "working together to attain a critical mass" to push prototype vaccines through animal and human trials.
The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative reports that about $1.2 billion is needed annually to diversify the number of vaccines in preclinical development and help pay for expensive human studies of the most promising vaccine candidates. To date, only one experimental HIV vaccine--AIDSVAX--has made it through final Phase III human studies, but the trial data showed it was ineffective in preventing HIV transmissions. More than 30 vaccines are in animal and human studies today, but many of those use the same scientific design as the failed AIDSVAX vaccine, the IAVI says.
The Paris meeting was held to shape the European nations' unified position on HIV vaccine research before next week's Group of Eight meeting in Washington, D.C., that will focus on the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, which is designed to increase collaboration and cooperation in scientific research.