Nobel winner won't give up on elusive HIV vaccine

A Nobel Prize-winning biologist says that researchers are no closer to developing a vaccine against HIV than they were 20 years ago, when the scientific quest began. The key challenge to the virus, he says, is that HIV developed in a way that makes it invisible to the human immune system, essentially beating out nature. And attempts to trump the virus with antibodies or boosting the immune system have failed.

"Some years ago I came to the conclusion that our community had to seriously undertake new approaches or we might find ourselves with a worldwide epidemic and no effective response," Dr. David Baltimore told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston. "That is just where we are today."

But Baltimore refuses to give up. New efforts involving gene and stem cell therapies are being mounted. Delivering gene therapy in a viral vector is the researchers' best shot, says Baltimore. The scientist runs the Baltimore lab at Caltech, which obtains much of its money from the Gates foundation.

- read the report from the BBC