Sharp Debate Over HIV Vaccine Failure
Scientists Can't Agree on Future of HIV Research
WebMD News Archive
Funding HIV Research continued...
Several leading scientists, including Anthony Fauci, MD, head of the
National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have offered stark
comments recently warning that an AIDS vaccine may never be found.
Hoxie implored the group to face head-on Merck's failure, and the failure of
other HIV vaccines before it.
"It comes with the territory. It is part of the process, we have to be
willing to accept it, we have to be willing to fund it," he said.
"It is only one step back," said Adel Mahmoud, MD, PhD, a Princeton
University professor of microbiology and the meeting's co-chair. "The
status quo and finger pointing isn't going to take us anywhere."
Fauci was more enthusiastic: "Everything is on the table to look
at." He added that that he was "unambiguous" about the need to
shift more funding toward basic scientific discoveries that could lead to new
HIV Vaccines: What Comes Next?
But earlier this week several HIV research advocacy groups called for the
U.S. government to abandon efforts to develop an HIV vaccine. Homayoon Khanlou,
MD, U.S. chief of medicine for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said that the
money should instead be spent on increased HIV testing and treatment,
which both help cut the risk of HIV transmission.
All the clinical trials that have been done with the vaccine have yielded no
results," Khanlou told reporters. "They've left us with no clue in
terms of which way to go."
Few researchers seemed willing to consider abandoning vaccine efforts
entirely. But several described their field as being a crossroads.
"The idea that we shut everything we have done and get to do something
else is absolutely insane," Mahmoud said.
He showed the audience of scientists a slide quoting Winston Churchill's
famous speech to a group of British students during World War II. "Never
give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never," it read.