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Scientists Propose Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise

With over 40 million people worldwide currently living with HIV/AIDS and millions more becoming infected each year, a group of scientists is calling for a coordinated global HIV vaccine enterprise to speed up the development and testing of promising candidates. In an article in the June 27 issue of Science, the authors emphasize the urgent need for an HIV vaccine, and outline a plan to accelerate research. Without a vaccine, if current trends continue, 45 million new people will become infected by 2010 and 70 million people will die by 2020, the World Health Organization and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS predict.

AIDS in India could become as dire as in Africa

The epidemic of HIV/AIDS in India is following the same pattern as that of sub-Saharan Africa in the 1980s, and it could become just as devastating unless preventive action is taken now, according to researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, in a paper to be published Saturday (June 21) in the British Medical Journal. “In hindsight, opportunities were missed to stem the explosive growth of AIDS in Africa,” says Dr. Malcolm Potts, professor of population and family planning at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health and lead author of the paper. “It would be a tragedy if we don’t apply the lessons learned from the failure to control the spread of HIV in Africa to the current situation in India. It is very painful to watch history repeating itself.”

Researcher ID new target for anti-HIV drugs

Researchers say they have discovered a new target on the HIV molecule that could potentially lead to a new class of anti-viral drugs to fight the virus that causes AIDS. “The greatest challenge in treating HIV today is drug resistance brought on when the virus mutates and renders existing drugs ineffective at stopping viral replication,” said a lead researcher. “Our research has led to the identification of a new class of compounds that inhibit a novel target in HIV. These compounds disrupt the assembly of the HIV-1 capsid protein, which is a vital step in changing immature, non-infectious HIV into its mature, infectious form.”