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Fight against HIV needs local scientists, say researchers
Date:10/22/2007

Scientists from developing countries are vitally important in the fight against HIV and they must be given the proper resources to conduct their work, according to a new commentary published today in the journal Nature Immunology.

Researchers from Imperial College London, who are evaluating multiple candidate vaccines designed to prevent HIV, argue that Western governments and funding agencies must commit to sharing technology and expertise with those in the developing world on a long-term basis.

The researchers have been working with local scientists in Uganda and other sites in the developing world to enable large-scale international trials of potential vaccines against HIV. They argue their work shows that it is both feasible and desirable to carry out high-quality trials in developing countries, but that more state-of-the-art laboratories are needed in the developing world to support such trials and enable the roll-out of antiretroviral drugs.

The authors write that people in countries like Uganda wish to take ownership of, or at the very least be equal partners in, efforts to develop treatments for HIV to benefit their population.

Old fashioned parachute science where scientists from the developed world flew in, bled a few patients, and immediately returned to their country of origin with their samples, are no longer required or acceptable. In-house development and research is an effective and efficient way forward, said Professor Frances Gotch, one of the commentarys authors from the Division of Investigative Science at Imperial College.

Uganda is a relative success story in relation to other parts of sub-Saharan Africa in terms of how it has dealt with the spread of HIV, thanks to a National AIDS Control programme, which was established early in the epidemic. Nonetheless, one million people in the country are living with HIV and contributions from the West have been and continue to be crucial in Ugand
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Contact: Laura Gallagher
L.Gallagher@imperial.ac.uk
44-020-759-46702
Imperial College London
Source:Eurekalert

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