According to the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) approximately 39 million people are living with HIV, and an estimated 4.9 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2004 alone.
New vaccines take decades to create, and the process can be slowed down when researchers work independently. Another reason that we don't have an AIDS vaccine yet is that making drugs for patients already infected with the virus has generally taken top priority.
"Given the magnitude of the AIDS epidemic and the complexity of the virus, the world must continue to galvanize resources to develop new prevention technologies, most importantly a vaccine," said Seth Berkley, president of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. "An effective AIDS vaccine is our best hope to stop the spread of HIV." Anthony S. Fauci M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that for the National Institutes of Health, the new paradigm requires expanding beyond basic research. It involves a new focus on product development through alliances with the pharmaceutical industry and other research agencies.
"At NIH we are attempting to we strike a balance between the time-honored goals of pursuing basic scientific research as the true foundation of all our objectives, and the need for applied research, and novel research partnerships, to rapidly develop vaccines, therapies and other interventions," he said
Differences in study design and research methods can make it difficult to get the most out of vaccine trials as they are currently done, Fauci said. The leveling-off of NIH's research budget has added to the need for greater co