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UN welcomes G8 endorsement of HIV vaccine initiative
Saturday 7 May 2005
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AFRICA: UN welcomes G8 endorsement of HIV vaccine initiative

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


UNAIDS executive director Peter Piot

JOHANNESBURG, 14 June (PLUSNEWS) - Two UN agencies on Monday welcomed a decision by the "Group of Eight" (G8) most industrialised countries to form a global consortium for the development of an effective HIV/AIDS vaccine.

The initiative, the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, currently being established with backing from Microsoft founder Bill Gates, aims to enhance global collaboration and information sharing among the world's leading HIV vaccine researchers.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNAIDS hailed the announcement as a "vital boost" to efforts of finding a way to immunise people against the deadly HI virus.

UNAIDS executive director Peter Piot said in a statement: "The G8's endorsement of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise is a vital boost to help it forge the strategic planning, collaboration and global investment of resources by governments and industry that is commensurate with the intensive effort required to develop a globally accessible and affordable HIV vaccine."

Research shows that although millions of people become HIV-positive each year, vaccine development has been slow, due mainly to the enormous scientific, logistical and financial challenges involved.

Of the 70 human clinical trials carried out in the 20 years since HIV was identified as the cause of AIDS, only one vaccine has reached the advanced trial stage, but did not show any noticeable level of efficacy.

"The Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise will bring a new political and financial dimension to addressing the complex challenge of developing a safe and effective HIV/AIDS vaccine," WHO Director-General Dr Lee Jong-wook confirmed.


Recent AFRICA Reports
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 232, 6 May 2005,  6/May/05
Low marks on report card for global HIV/AIDS commitments ,  4/May/05
Project empowers rural communities to shape own HIV/AIDS programmes,  3/May/05
Clinic tackles urgent need for AIDS/TB treatment,  2/May/05
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 231, 29 April 2005,  29/Apr/05

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