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AIDS Experts Push for More Focus in Vaccine Research

Experts attending the International AIDS conference in Mexico City say vaccine researchers should concentrate on smaller, more focused trials and drop any vaccines that do not show promise.

Officials from the non-profit International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, known as IAVI, made the comment Tuesday as the group released proposals on vaccine research and development.

The group's president, Dr. Seth Berkley, said developing an AIDS vaccine may take more time and innovation that originally thought, but he said scientists are confident that science will prevail. He said it is not unexpected for a vaccine to take decades to develop.

Another scientist from the organization, Dr. Wayne Koff, also said strong scientific evidence in both humans and animal models suggests developing an AIDS vaccine is possible.

Although there is no vaccine now for AIDS, numerous drugs are on the market to control its symptoms.

AIDS experts say that in 2007, some 2.7 million people worldwide - or 7,400 people per day, were newly infected with HIV, the immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS.

The International AIDS conference is held every two years. This year's conference began Sunday and ends Friday. This is the first time the event has been held in Latin America.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.