News / Africa

    AIDS Vaccine Conference Ends with Eye to Future

    AIDS Vaccine Conference Ends with Eye to Future
    AIDS Vaccine Conference Ends with Eye to Future
    Joe DeCapua

    The AIDS Vaccine 2011 conference ended Thursday in Bangkok, Thailand. While a vaccine to help end the pandemic remains elusive, scientific advances are being made.

    About 850 scientists, researchers and others met for four days to discuss progress on finding a vaccine to prevent HIV infection. It’s the only conference to focus exclusively on that.

    Exciting time

    Mitchell Warren, head of the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, or AVAC, gives the meeting fairly high marks.

    “I’d say on a scale from one to ten, we are in a scientific zone in the upper sevens and eights,” he said.

    AVAC is a non-profit organization with a stated goal speeding up the “ethical development and delivery of AIDS vaccines” as part of a “comprehensive response to the pandemic.”

    Mitchell Warren of AVAC
    Mitchell Warren of AVAC

    “We are in a terrific moment in the field and I must say it is terrifically exciting to be able to do this meeting here in Bangkok. It’s not just good science, but to be in the country where the largest AIDS vaccine trial in the world took place - and the first trial to demonstrate that a vaccine was possible – it’s pretty exciting timing,” he said.

    That vaccine candidate is known as RV-144. The results of the trial involving about 16,000 participants were announced in 2009. They showed a protection rate of about 31 percent - not nearly good enough to go to market, but good enough to show it can be done.

    Now what?

    Warren said, “Over the last two years, an unprecedented international collaboration has been underway to try to understand why we got the modest effect in that trial that we did.”

    What they found were not definite answers, but rather new signals of what direction to take next.

    “It is what we call hypothesis generating and there is going to need to be some additional studies to confirm that. But these are the first signals we’ve ever had,” he said.

    A follow-up trial to RV-144 will be held in 2014. It will reflect new the data and direction developed since 2009.

    Meanwhile, there is a vaccine trial that’s currently recruiting 2,200 participants in about 20 U.S. cities. It’s sponsored by the HIV Vaccine Trials Network. HVTN 505 is the world’s largest ongoing HIV vaccine study and uses a combination of two experimental vaccines. It will focus on preventing infection among men who have sex with men and transgender women.

    “While this is one of the most exciting times in our field, it is also the most complex time in our field. These are complexities and challenges that we’ve longed for. I think it’s safe to say that vaccine trials are going to get more complicated, but more interesting in the next couple of years,” said Warren.

    Three-part strategy

    He added that in these difficult economic times, a comprehensive strategic plan is needed for HIV/AIDS. The near and midterm strategies, he says, should include scaling up treatment and care, condoms, male circumcision, microbicides and the use of antiretroviral drugs as a preventive measure. The long term strategy is an AIDS vaccine.

    “The near term and midterm strategies are the ones that are going to help us begin to control the epidemic. The long term strategy will get us an end to the epidemic,” he said.

    AIDS Vaccine 2012 will be held next September in Boston, Massachusetts.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Mulls Tough Measures for ‘Misbehaving’ Chinese Tourists

    Move comes after footage surfaced online of Chinese travelers harassing a banana hawker in Da Nang

    Pakistan Social Media Star's Honor Killing Fuels Debate

    Qandeel Baloch's murder puts spotlight on deadly tradition and other mistreatment of women

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora