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    AIDS vaccine trials: bumpy road ahead.

    Cohen J

    SCIENCE. 1991 Mar 15; 251:1312-3.

    AIDS scientists met in February 1991 to discuss international trials of AIDS vaccines because of the urgency in conducting such trials since the US Food and Drug Administration approved 6 vaccines for trails. Major problems discussed were how to insure access to potential AIDS vaccines to developing countries, where to conduct future tests of vaccine efficacy, and which of the leading institutions should coordinate such an effort. The most difficult issue centered around who assumes the risks and who benefits. Many researchers considered conducting AIDS vaccine trials in developing countries since they have a large population varied in age and gender at high risk of HIV infection. Assuming an HIV vaccine is effective, additional questions must be addressed: How can a developing country afford a vaccine at free market prices? If that country does get the vaccine should not other developing countries also get it? Who will pay for it and distribute it? WHO has already contacted ministries of health about AIDS trials. Other organizations, e.g., the US Centers for Disease Control and the US National Institutes of Health, also already involved in international AIDS vaccine research do not want to be kept out of the Phase III trials. Some recommended that WHO be the international umbrella, others suggested that no organization control all the research. Nevertheless the vaccine will be produced in a rich country, and if left to the free market, it will be too expensive. 1 suggestions is a 2-tiered pricing plan in which rich countries pay higher prices thereby subsidizing the price in poor countries. Another is a patent exchange where the vaccine developers donate the vaccine patent to an international organization and they in turn can get an extension on an existing patent. Another alternative includes removing AIDS vaccines from the private sector altogether.
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