Sunday, December 25, 2005

AIDS Researcher: Vaccine Just an Effort Away

It's Christmas for a vast majority of Americans. Even as some in this country wonder where they will sleep, what they will eat and what they will have to do to get those things, others are happily gorging themselves on turkey, mashed potatoes and pie.
If you happen to be in the mood to feel even more guilty for the holidays, check out these very refreshing words from a noted AIDS Researcher: The HIV vaccine will be created when drug companies figure out how to make money from it.

Dr. Edmund Tramont, US chief of AIDS research, said in a deposition for a recent employment lawsuit obtained by the Associated Press, drug companies have no incentive to create a vaccine for HIV. Tramont said he believes one will ultimately be created, however it will be a government institution that does it and not a drug company. Once the difficult work of finding the vaccine has been done, the drug companies will step-in and mass produce the product to meet market demand.

In response to a CNN story about Tramont's comments, Ken Johnson, senior VP of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), said the statement was unfair and that private drug company researchers were aggressively pursuing at least "15 potential vaccines" today.

According to the PhRMA Web site 82 new AIDS medicines are currently in development.

Tramont is standing by his comments, adding that vaccine development is flawed, not just for AIDS drugs, but for everything in the pipeline, due to the pursuit of higher profit margins.

The International AIDS Vaccines Initiative, a not-for-profit group seeking a vaccine, said 30 potential vaccine candidates are currently being tested (mostly on a small scale) in 19 countries, but said most are based on the same scientific principles and therefore might fail as a batch if the science is wrong.

Space exploration seems a paltry endeavor in comparison to saving lives---but both seemingly suffer from an industrial complex designed only to make profits, not better lives for everyone.

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