Asian efforts in AIDS vaccine development step up

Regional efforts towards an AIDS vaccine must be strengthened and harmonized, says a new article in this week's PLoS Medicine Magazine. Yiming Shao from the National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention in Beijing, China and colleagues from a range of Asian and international agencies announce the formation of AVAN-the AIDS Vaccine for Asia Network-that aims to strengthen its regional efforts in finding an AIDS vaccine.

The authors say that AVAN has been set up to help facilitate the development of a regional AIDS vaccine strategy that will: accelerate research and development of an AIDS vaccine through government advocacy, improved coordination and harmonization of research; develop clinical trial and manufacturing capacity; support ethical and regulatory frameworks; and ensure community participation.

More than 5 million people have already been infected with HIV across Asia, and another 500 million are considered at risk, say the authors.