Researchers Call For Sustained Funding To Move HIV Vaccine R&D Ahead

At the AIDS Vaccine 2010 conference last week in Atlanta, researchers emphasized the need for sustained funding for vaccine research and development in order to further progress toward an HIV vaccine, SciDev.Net reports.

“The amount of money going into research has decreased because of the economic downturn and competing global health priorities, Alan Bernstein, executive director of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, told the AIDS Vaccine 2010 conference” last week, the news service writes. Bernstein explained, “We have to make sure that the money we have now is being spent on the most effective and justified research and clinical trials. It is crucial to diversify [funding sources] and increase funds,” Bernstein said.

“HIV/AIDS research receives around US$1.1 billion globally, of which some US$868 million goes towards vaccine research, according to a report of the HIV Vaccines and Microbicides Resource Tracking Working Group ‘Advancing the Science in a Time of Fiscal Constraint: Funding For HIV Prevention Technologies in 2009,'” according to the news service. “In 2009 the public sector provided 86 percent, the philanthropic sector 11 percent, and the commercial sector just three percent of this funding,” the article reports. 

The article references several recent advances in HIV vaccine research and the Global HIV Enterprise’s 2010 Scientific Strategic Plan created by researchers to help guide the future of HIV vaccine research, which “call[s] for more involvement of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries in vaccine research and greater funding from emerging economies.” The piece also includes comments from Salim Abdool Karim of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa, who helped to lead the recent vaginal microbicide gel trial, which found women who used the gel before and after sex reduced their risk of HIV infection by 39 percent (Abano, 10/1).