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Ending an Epidemic: The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative Pioneers a Public-Private Partnership

Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization | Winter 2006

Innovations, Vol. 1, No. 1, Pages 52–66.

By Seth Berkley

Excerpt: Since Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was identified in 1981, it has killed more than 25 million people and more than 40 million are infected today with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The spread has been worldwide but it is the developing world that is now bearing the brunt of the epidemic with 95% of the new infections. Despite increasing efforts at prevention and treatment, the epidemic, continues to accelerate. This year, according to UNAIDS, has seen the largest number of deaths to date, more than 3 million, with more than 5 million new infections. With 14,000 new infections a day, HIV is already reversing decades of progress in these developing countries and has the potential to be even more catastrophic. Only a vaccine has any hope of ending the AIDS epidemic, yet through the mid-1990s AIDS vaccine work was limited on the world’s richer nations, and even this work had slowed to a standstill.

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