China forms AIDS vaccine development network

Officials with the National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention in Beijing, China, have teamed up with several international agencies to form a network that is geared toward strengthening efforts to find an AIDS vaccine.

The formation of the network, called the AIDS Vaccine for Asia Network, was announced in a recent edition of PLoS Medicine Magazine.

Yiming Shao, from the National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention in Beijing, told Eureka Alert that the total Asia population is approximately 4 billion people — just over 60 percent of the world population. More than 500 million people of that population are considered to be at-risk for HIV exposure and infection, including youth, injecting drug users and homosexuals. Close to 5 million people have already been infected with HIV across Asia.

Shao told Eureka Alert that AVAN was established in order to facilitate the development of a regional AIDS vaccine strategy that will accelerate research and development of an AIDS vaccine through government advocacy.

The program also hopes to improve coordination and harmonization of research and to develop clinical trial and manufacturing capacity.

Another goal of the program is to build up regional resource centers and collaborative platforms to promote innovative AIDS vaccine research strategies. The program also aims to enlarge the pipeline of candidate AIDS vaccines suitable for use among Asian populations.