Experts for global study on HIV

World's leading researchers have proposed a network of coordinated research centres aimed solely to develop a vaccine against AIDS.

| Updated on: Jul 09 2003, 16:20 IST

AIDS will kill 70 million people worldwide by 2020 unless a successful vaccine is found and experts say the quickest way to do this is with a crash programme aimed solely at finding the best way to protect humans from the HIV virus.

In a formal proposal appearing this week in the journal Science, some of the world's leading researchers propose a network of coordinated research centres to develop a vaccine to head off an exploding worldwide AIDS crisis.

The 24 co-authors include two Nobel prize winners, college presidents, the heads of major public health departments of the US government, and AIDS researchers from India, France, South Africa, England, Switzerland, China and the United Nations.

In concept, said co-author Dr David Baltimore, the proposal is rather like a Manhattan Project against AIDS.

'In the sense it is a commitment to use the skills of the scientific community to solve a problem, it is like the Manhattan Project,' said Baltimore, a Nobel laureate. 'But the Manhattan Project depended on secrecy and we're doing the exact opposite.'

Baltimore said the research would be conducted openly, with information and discoveries shared quickly and completely between labs.

Despite more than 20 years of effort, researchers have yet to find the ideal approach against AIDS. The human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, that causes AIDS attacks the very cells in the body's immune system that play a key role in protecting against infection.

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First Published Date: 08 Jul, 00:00 IST