HIV NEWS AND PLEA
A study of mother-to-child HIV-1 transmission published this week in Nature (Vol. 412, No. 6844, 19 Jul 2001) shows that an important virus escape variant, no longer recognized by the host immune response, is maintained when the virus is transmitted. This occurs, suggest Bruce D. Walker of Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues, despite the absence of selection pressure in the offspring.
The finding provides evidence that these mutations could accumulate as the virus spreads through the population, with potentially important implications for pathogenesis of the infection and vaccine design.
Also in this week’s Nature, an international representation of senior AIDS experts submits a plea to the 20 July G8 summit to prioritize spending on AIDS research. The summit may be the last chance to increase the Global Fund on AIDS to the size required to do the job — and to get it up and running this year, they say.
Without adequate financing, the fund will fail — leaving it another year will cost countless lives. Donor and recipient countries now agree that the fund must be sustainably financed, be properly structured, have a clear mandate, and be independent to decide on the distribution of funds. But consensus is meaningless without enough money, they write. As things stand, only US$845 million is pledged of the US$8–10 billion needed for the fund to accomplish its mission — an order-of-magnitude increase in donations by the G8 is needed urgently.
Bruce D Walker
tel +1 617 724 8332
RE AIDS FUNDING:
Peter Hale (Necker Institute, Paris, available from Friday 13th)
tel +33 1 40 61 56 16 / 53 10
mobile +33 6 85 94 02 18
Michael Merson (Dean, Yale University School of Public Health)
tel +1 203 785 2867 (office), +1 203 389 8241 (home)
Thomas Quinn (Johns Hopkins University)
tel +1 410 955 7635 / 3151 (office), +1 301 807 9831 (mobile)
(C) Nature press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza