July 20, 2001
20 July 2001—IAVI is urging Group of Eight (G-8) leaders to translate past pledges into concrete action at this year's Summit, 20-22 in Genoa, the first to include AIDS as a major agenda item.
As far back as the Denver Summit in 1997, G-8 member countries have made commitments to fight against AIDS, including an acceleration of AIDS vaccines research and development, yet actual investment remains shamefully low. Over the course of the G-8's three-day Summit, 45,000 people will become newly infected with HIV.
"A safe, effective vaccine is the world's best hope for ending the pandemic, yet best estimates are that only US$ 430-470 million is currently being invested globally in AIDS vaccines R&D," said Seth Berkley, M.D., President and CEO of IAVI. "Efforts to develop a vaccine to end the worst epidemic since the Great Plague receive less than 1% of total global spending on health R&D."
A new IAVI briefing paper calls on the Group of Eight to commit to an additional US$ 1.1 billion to finance an applied research plan for new AIDS vaccine development and testing, and assure that it is focused on the needs of the most affected countries. The paper also calls for the G-8 to make a firm commitment now to purchase and deliver AIDS vaccines as soon as they become available.
Discussions in Genoa are likely to examine G-8 financial commitments to the new global AIDS and health fund, following a call from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to establish a US$ 7-10 billion "war chest" to increase prevention and care for affected countries. IAVI encourages world leaders to fully support this call. However, this fund is not expected to address research and development, and so a parallel effort is needed to mobilize new resources for vaccines.
Group of Eight nations include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and United States.