G8 Leaders Highlight Importance of Effectively Combating Infectious Diseases

June 11, 2007

The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) commends the leaders attending the Group of Eight (G8) Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany for prioritizing the development needs of Africa and policies to support forward-looking innovation policies that can help translate novel research concepts into tangible health products and services.  

If G8 leaders are to meet their previous commitments to universal access in the fight against AIDS, then strong support is required for measures to expand existing prevention, treatment and care services and to invest in new tools for the future.  We need a fully-resourced plan for ending AIDS, and new prevention options, including an AIDS vaccine, should have a prominent place in such a plan.

Every day an estimated 12,000 people become newly infected with HIV, 95 percent of whom are in the developing world. These numbers must be dramatically cut.  A vaccine offers the best hope of ending the global pandemic.  An AIDS vaccine would also give women and girls access to a new form of HIV prevention which they can initiate and control.

Much progress has been made recently in the search for a vaccine, but many challenges remain.  We need additional support for scientific innovation to drive new approaches to AIDS vaccine design, as well as to shorten product testing and development timelines.  Increased private sector involvement is also required, backed by adequate incentives and measures to mitigate companies’ financial risks. Increased resources for product development public-private partnerships (PDPs), which unite the public sector’s commitment to international public goods for health with private industry’s discipline and expertise, can also play a critical role.

IAVI welcomes a range of shared commitments expressed in the G8 communiqué that can favor more rapid development of an AIDS vaccine:

IAVI will continue to work with the G8 and other governments, as well as with our many scientific and NGO partners, in backing stronger actions to develop new AIDS prevention technologies which can enable countries to achieve the universal access goals for combating AIDS.  We look forward to concrete progress leading up to next year’s G8 Summit in Japan

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