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HIV expert: World
risks duplication in HIV vaccine efforts

HIV expert: World
risks duplication in HIV vaccine efforts

Greater coordination is needed in the quest to develop an HIV vaccine to avoid redundancy and improve the chances for success, says Robert Hatch, senior vice president for public policy at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. "There is a danger we see right now in AIDS vaccines, a lot of so-called me-too or similar vaccines being tested," Hatch told a meeting of the Global Forum for Health Research in Bombay, India, on Tuesday.

Currently, more than 30 HIV vaccine candidates are in clinical trials worldwide, but scientists are not certain any of them will effectively defeat the frequently mutating virus.

With support from the World Bank, the European Union, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, IAVI is calling for a stronger scientific consensus on priorities and an improved funding system to "avoid this kind of duplication and wasted use of resources." Through a series of coordinated and targeted efforts, said Hatch, "the timeline could be speeded up by as much as 50%."

In 2005 alone, nearly $4 billion is expected to be spent on antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV in the developing world, and this is expected to increase dramatically in coming years, Hatch noted. In comparison, the $680 million spent around the world on AIDS vaccine research and development is hundreds of millions of dollars short of what is needed, he said. (Reuters)

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