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World AIDS Vaccine Day 2008
Date:5/16/2008

en contain a treasure trove of new ideas, to apply their technologies to AIDS vaccine discovery efforts.

Continued clinical research is also critical. We need to learn as much as possible about HIV and human responses to it. How does the immune system initially respond to HIV, and how does the virus change to escape detection from the immune system after it enters the body? What can we learn from the immune responses of newly-infected individuals? The answers to these questions may provide insights critical to the design of future vaccine candidates.

An AIDS vaccine is still urgently needed. Vaccines are one of the most effective public health interventions ever known. History has shown that a vaccine is the only way to eliminate a major viral epidemic. It has also shown that vaccines can take decades to develop. HIV was discovered 25 years ago, but we have only had a concerted AIDS vaccine effort for the last ten years. With nearly 7,000 new HIV infections per day, we must continue to do everything in our power to develop a vaccine that could eliminate the AIDS pandemic once and for all. AIDS remains the fourth-leading cause of death globally and the number one killer in sub-Saharan Africa.

Long-term support is needed. Developing an AIDS vaccine will require sustained commitment from the best minds in science, industry and academia, as well as political and financial support from governments and donors around the world. On May 18, as we honor those who have avidly supported and participated in AIDS vaccine research, we call upon these existing advocates, as well as new ones, to maintain their support for the long haul. Developing an AIDS vaccine isn't going to be easy. At IAVI, we look forward to a World AIDS Vaccine Day that can be marked with the actual discovery of a vaccine that has stopped the spread of HIV. Until then, we remain committed to accelerating vaccine discovery and development efforts toward that goal.

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SOURCE International AIDS Vaccine Initiative
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