UN: UNAIDS calls for sustained investment, collaboration to develop HIV vaccine

New York, US (PANA) - The Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), on Wednesday called for greater investments and increased collaboration among governments, the scientific community and the private sector to advance research towards finding an effective HIV vaccine.

In a statement, marking the HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, UNAIDS Executive Director, Mr. Michel Sidibe, stated: "Developing an effective HIV vaccine would be a major scientific and medical breakthrough for humankind."

"Alongside expanding access to existing anti-retroviral medicines and combination HIV prevention tools, sustained investment and intensified collaboration to develop an HIV vaccine is needed to bring the world a step closer to ending the AIDS epidemic," Mr. Sidibe said.

He recalled that, in 2014, global investment in HIV vaccine research and development increased by 2.8 per cent, to US$841 million, up from US$818 million in 2013.

"However, this rebound followed five years during which available resources either flat-lined or declined, with a high of US$961 million in 2007, and the United States of America remains the largest investor in HIV research and development," he said.

The UNAIDS chief also said that public–private and international partnerships have been formed to accelerate progress towards an effective HIV vaccine, noting that UNAIDS is working together with partners, such as the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, AVAC and other stakeholders, to advance research.

Mr. Sidibe said UNAIDS was also an active participant in the annual vaccine funders’ meetings coordinated by the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise to highlight the importance of continued research, sustained funding and coordinated responses towards HIV vaccine discovery.

"Over the past 30 years, four concepts for an HIV vaccine have been tested in six efficacy trials. Of these, the "RV144" vaccine trial in Thailand in 2009 was most promising, reducing HIV infection risk by 31 per cent.

"It is hoped that ongoing research will lead to at least two further large-scale trials of vaccine candidates starting in the near future. At the same time, work continues to develop other potential vaccines, including a combined vaccine for HIV and hepatitis C," he stated.

He also added that the effectiveness of neutralizing antibodies is also being studied.

"An HIV vaccine will be necessary for the long-term control of HIV and is the best hope for sustaining the progress made towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030," Mr. Sidibe concluded.

UNAIDS leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.

It unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations, including the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Food Programme (WFP), UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Population Fund (UNFPA), and UN Office for Drugs and Crimes (UNODC).

Others are UN Women, International Labour Organization (ILO), UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank.

UANIDS also works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
-0- PANA AA/VAO 18May2016

18 may 2016 14:39:09

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