More than 20 of the world's top AIDS scientists and public health officials on Thursday called for the creation of a global enterprise to assist private companies in their ongoing efforts to craft an effective HIV vaccine, The Wall Street Journal reports. Vaccine development can range between $200 million to $600 million, a price tag many private research institutions can't afford on their own, according to the scientists and policy makers. The initiative would support all promising vaccine models, report on successful vaccine tests--as well as failures--and ensure that research teams around the world are not duplicating research efforts.
"A well-coordinated global enterprise necessary to drive this scientific effort does not exist and must be created," the authors wrote in the journal Science, adding that "reliance on industry to carry the major load for discovery and development for HIV vaccines is unrealistic." The statement was signed by top HIV/AIDS officials at the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as two Nobel laureates and the leaders of several research organizations.
The Journal reports that sources close to the researchers who called for the global enterprise say the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is likely to provide a major portion of the budget for such an undertaking, providing funding that could run as high as $1 billion.