AIDS Vaccine Researchers, Advocates Meet to Plan, Raise Money for African AIDS Vaccine Research
A group of international scientists, donors, politicians, industry representatives and research agencies will meet in South Africa this week to develop a plan of action and a fundraising strategy for the African AIDS Vaccine Program, the South African Press Association reports. The meeting, which is organized by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS, will aim to develop a seven-year plan for the program and raise $233 million for the project. Although two-thirds of people infected with HIV worldwide are in Africa, African vaccine research currently receives only 1.6% of the $2.5 billion spent on HIV research annually, SAPA reports. Of the 30 HIV vaccine trials that have been conducted since 1987, only two took place in Africa, according to WHO. "A vaccine for Africa would be the best preventive measure against AIDS. Enormous efforts should go into this initiative, which could help address the health and development tragedy that AIDS has become for many African countries," UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said (SAPA, 5/30). The AAVP was approved by African political leaders last year, and 15 African nations have each said they will contribute $50,000 per year to the project (Reuters, 5/30). WHO officials said that because the lack of research infrastructure in Africa has hampered vaccine research on the continent, some of the funds raised for AAVP will go toward shoring up regional facilities and "strengthening local expertise." South African Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and Senegal Health Minister Awa Coll-Seck will attend the AAVP meeting (SAPA, 5/30). The World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will also participate in the summit (Reuters, 5/30).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.