We all know the numbers, but lets focus on one: 2.5 Million people were still infected with HIV last year Although prevalence and incidence have steadied in some regions since 2001, for every 2 people placed on treatment 3 more become infected You can’t treat your way out of an epidemic We need both short and long-term solutions to stop the global AIDS epidemic. A safe and effective HIV vaccine is the most promising long-term strategy for stopping the spread of HIV.
Vaccines will work and stop new infections.
Although we must focus on learning as much as possible about the human immune response, we cannot forget about NHPs. NHPs also have much to contribute to understanding and to vaccine development. But at the moment, they have not been as effectively developed or exploited as they might be.
Design clinical research of new immunogens as a means of developing new assays of upstream markers Viral load and clinical protection are downstream markers that do not provide much insight into what is going on after immunization with a new immunogen New, more upstream and mechanism based assays are urgently required to shed light on what is happening after immunzation
Recent advances, including systems biology, computational biology, transcriptional profiling, RNAi technologies, multiparameter cell phenotyping , have now made the human amenable to direct experimental analysis. These new advances have much to contribute to understanding the human system and its response to HIV.
The HIV vaccine field needs to renew itself. Many of the distinguished investigators in this field entered it in the 1980s when HIV/AIDS was first described. Now, 25 years later, we need to ensure that there is a new generation of equally talented, committed and supported scientists to continue the effort.
The average age for first R01 grant today is 43.
The Enterprise serves, in essence as the global convener for all those committed to eliminating HIV/AIDS
This new era in HIV vaccine research calls for changes in how we work. We need to develop strong relationships between bench scientists and their clinical colleagues. We need to forge seamless relationships between academia and industry. And graduate students need to be exposed early on to the human dimensions of AIDS.
An HIV Vaccine: Where Do We Go From Here? Dr. Alan Bernstein Monday August 4, 2008