HIV research summit seeks new discovery path

Twenty-five years after the discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus, top scientists from around the world gathered at the Pasteur Institute to mark major advances in the field and come to terms with some of the grim realities that now afflict their work. Swiftly identifying the virus that causes AIDS and the development of a drug cocktail in the ‘90s were both signal achievements. But the scientists also called for new thinking, new researchers and new money to address recent defeats in finding a vaccine and a vaginal gel needed to stop the spread of the disease.

"We still don't completely understand the various forms of the virus. It's more complicated for us than we thought," said France's Luc Montagnier, who helped discover the link between HIV and AIDS.

Jean-Francois Delfraissy, director of France's National Agency for AIDS Research, called for a new look at the cellular biology at work and Alice Dautry, head of the Pasteur Institute, demanded a multidisciplinary approach that could tackle every problem from all directions.

"Some fundamental biological questions are needed (to be addressed) before some vaccines go forward, or we tend to waste money, produce a depressing atmosphere in the field and take money away from the basic science that is needed right now," said AIDS pioneer Robert Gallo.

- read the article from AFP