Change in focus needed for progress in HIV-vaccine research

It is not time to give up on HIV vaccines but to change the way we pursue them, states a viewpoint published online today (Wednesday September 28, 2005) by THE LANCET.

Robert Gallo outlines seven major scientific obstacles that are blocking the development of a successful HIV-preventative vaccine. These include challenges with vaccine design and the lack of a truly useful animal model for studying HIV infection. Despite these problems Gallo states that it is not time to give up on HIV vaccines. He argues that in order to progress there should be a shift in emphasis to rational approaches that are based on solid knowledge of HIV biology.

Dr Gallo states: "it is not time to give up on HIV vaccines but to change the way we pursue them. HIV-preventive vaccine research should clearly ignore empirically driven approaches and rely exclusively on rational approaches that are based on solid knowledge of HIV biology. I suggest after years of wandering, we have only begun to travel this path. A shift in emphasis to solving key scientific problems that have plagued the field is necessary."

He describes promising models by which this change in focus for vaccine research can be realised and administered, including the Gates's Foundation's Grand Challenge for Global Health--a scientistdriven programme to find practical solutions to major scientific roadblocks.


Contact: Joe Santangelo

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