AIDS vaccine researchers years away from success

Following a series of major setbacks trying to develop a vaccine for AIDS, The Independent surveyed the top scientists in the field and discovered a deep layer of pessimism. Only two of the 35 top AIDS scientists surveyed in the U.S. and the U.K. said they were more optimistic about developing a vaccine now than they were a year ago. Nearly two thirds told the newspaper that it would be at least 10 years before a vaccine could be developed and some estimate it will take at least 20 years. The survey comes after 25 years of research has produced no viable approach to developing an AIDS vaccine. The most significant advance in the field recently has been the recognition that testing experimental AIDS vaccines on monkeys--an approach used for the past 10 years--doesn't work.

"I don't think you should say that this is the point where we're going to give up on developing a vaccine," says Anthony Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "I think you continue given that there are so many unanswered questions to answer," he said. "There is an impression given by some that if you do vaccine research you are neglecting other areas of prevention. That's not the case. We should and we are doing them simultaneously."

- check out the article in The Independent

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