The world markets crisis could temper financial support among governments and philanthropic organizations for HIV/AIDS vaccine research, experts said Tuesday at the AIDS Vaccine 2008 Conference in Cape Town.
“It’s not good news for research in general and vaccine research in particular,” said Alan Bernstein, head of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise. “It has been a very turbulent year.”
The total AIDS budget for the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases this year was $1.5 billion, of which $491 million was channeled to vaccine research, said Director Anthony Fauci. That is a boost from the $115 million dedicated to NIAID vaccine research in 1998 and $22 million in 1988.
Fauci said he does not believe federal spending on AIDS will be cut, but “the increases in the budget that we had hoped for will not be forthcoming.” And Fauci feared the unsteady market will impact the “enthusiasm and ability of philanthropic research and development.”
Critics who argue that too much taxpayer money has already been spent on HIV vaccine research are missing the point, said Fauci. “If you can prevent infection, you are preventing the need for a lifetime of expensive drugs,” he said. “If you look historically, vaccines have been the most cost-effective health interventions in history and continue to be so.”
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Financial Issues Funding HIV/AIDS Prevention Vaccine Development Research
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