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G8 Endorses Global Effort to Establish HIV-AIDS Vaccines - 2004-06-11

The global disease AIDS highlighted the agenda on the last day of the summit meeting of eight major industrialized nations. The leaders of the G8, who gathered off the coast of the U.S. southeastern state of Georgia, endorsed a proposal to cooperate more closely on a global effort to establish a vaccine for the deadly disease.

The plan to combat HIV-AIDS, which experts say affects 40 million people worldwide, is called the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise. Top U.S. AIDS researcher Dr. Anthony Fauci, said that the G8's efforts will focus on coordinating the international effort to produce an AIDS vaccine.

"The Global HIV Enterprise is a proposal that has been endorsed by the G8 and proposed by President Bush which calls for what we call a virtual consortium or an alliance of stakeholders involved in HIV vaccine research who will agree upon a strategic plan to force the better collaboration and cooperation and commitment to an HIV vaccine," he said.

Specifically, the plan seeks to encourage the growth of HIV vaccine development centers and to stimulate vaccine manufacturing capabilities around the world. Additionally, the G8 will ask for standardized scientific measurements in global research, a network of clinics to conduct trials of any vaccine, a greater degree of international awareness of research and the inclusion of more scientists from developing countries in the search for an AIDS vaccine.

When asked about the cost of the plan, Dr. Fauci is quick to point out that money at this point not at issue.

"It's not a question of cost, it's an alliance of following a strategic plan; it's not an infusion of new pooled money, the president, as a show of getting the ball rolling, with the enterprise has proposed $15 million to develop one of the several centers that the plan calls for," he added.

Dr. Fauci says there is the hope that there will be interest in joining and embracing this strategic plan and get involved in contributing. The G8, representing the United States, France, Great Britain, Canada, Germany, Russia, Italy, and Germany concluded its 30th annual summit with AIDS as one of the leading issues alongside Iraq, the Middle East, Africa and the global war on terror.

U.S. AIDS researcher Anthony Fauci says that the G8 plan is, what he calls, an exciting new initiative that rounds out the approach which currently exists regarding prevention and care with treatment and vaccines.