FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

U.N. agency encourages renewed commitment for HIV vaccine

UN agency encourages renewed commitment for HIV vaccine | Courtesy of un.org

The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, also known as UNAIDS, recently renewed its encouragement for the global health community to sustain its commitment to develop an effective HIV vaccine.

UNAIDS is determined that no one will be left behind in the HIV response. It emphasized that vaccines encourage equity, as they can be used in any setting and community, even in regions where other healthcare may be difficult to distribute or deliver.

In 2009, the clinical RV144 vaccine trial joined two vaccines to test their effectiveness. The two vaccines failed when they were tested separately. The combination decreased the HIV infection rate by 31 percent, which suggests hopeful outcomes for future HIV vaccine research; scientists are currently researching other novel vaccine candidates, such as neutralizing antibodies.

“A vaccine would be a major step towards ending the AIDS epidemic,” Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS executive director, said. “There have been encouraging recent scientific advances that give us hope for the future development of an HIV vaccine.”

Vaccines have been a crucial tool in controlling several infectious diseases, such as tetanus, diphtheria, measles, pertussis, mumps and rubella. Health professionals credit vaccines with eradicating smallpox and nearly eradicating polio.

Unfortunately, 2013 showed a significant decrease in HIV vaccine research and development investments. According to UNAIDS, HIV vaccine research and development is at its lowest point since 2008. Ongoing support is the only way that HIV will be eliminated.

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