HIV vaccine trials take center stage at world’s largest global health conference
Saturday, July 23, 2016
DURBAN, South Africa — Hopes for a truly effective HIV vaccine were mostly the stuff of dreams in 2000, the last and only time Durban, South Africa hosted the biennial meeting of the International AIDS Society.
The global HIV Vaccine Trials Network, based at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and led by virologist and former Fred Hutch President and Director Dr. Larry Corey, was just being organized. No vaccine clinical trials were underway in South Africa, whose president at the time denied that HIV even caused AIDS.
Sixteen years later, things have changed.
When Corey took the stage Wednesday before fellow scientists, advocates, policymakers and people living with HIV attending AIDS 2016, the world’s largest global health conference, his message was upbeat.
“The HIV vaccine field,” he said, “is open for business.”
The HVTN, working with its sister network, the HIV Prevention Trials Network, or HPTN, based in Durham, North Carolina, has just begun what is already being called a landmark study to test an experimental, so-called broadly neutralizing antibody that could potentially protect people from infection by almost all strains of the rapidly mutating virus that causes AIDS.
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