MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

NIAID says durable end to AIDS requires HIV vaccine

While broader access to antiretrovirals and HIV prevention strategies could end the HIV/AIDS pandemic, a safe and moderately effective HIV vaccine will be more sustainable, the National Institutes of Health said on Wednesday.

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the NIH, and his colleague Hilary Marston made the remarks in a piece recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Fauci and Marston said the behavioral, cultural and legal factors that hinder HIV prevention and treatment necessitate the development of an HIV vaccine.

The authors noted that HIV vaccine development efforts have been disappointing, but they said recent efforts offer encouraging areas for HIV vaccine researchers to pursue. This includes the discovery of naturally occurring, broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV. Fauci and Marston said using improved understanding of the antibodies and the sites on HIV to which they bind could expedite protection against initial infection.

"The HIV prevention community should hold fast to its commitment to vaccine science," Fauci and Marston said. "Ultimately, we believe, the only guarantee of a sustained end of the AIDS pandemic lies in a combination of non-vaccine prevention methods and the development and deployment of a safe and sufficiently effective HIV vaccine."

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