Monday, March 31, 2008

Is An AIDS Vaccine Really Impossible?

Along with other recent articles, the NYTimes Editorial Board weighed in with a recent op-ed, suggesting that an AIDS vaccine is now considered seemingly beyond our collective reach:
Back in 1984, federal health officials, flush with excitement over discovery of the virus that causes AIDS, famously predicted that they would have a vaccine ready for market within three years. Now, after almost a quarter-century of toil and struggle, the effort has crashed in failure. No one yet knows whether a vaccine to prevent the disease will ever be possible.
Really? While difficult, the title of the piece somewhat contradicts with the content. As the op-ed goes on to state, funding must shift towards finding novel ways to combat AIDS as well as towards prevention / treatment, but should not forsake vaccine research altogether. However, the notion that a vaccine is "impossible" seems defeatist. By shaping public opinion against the notion of a vaccine, which in turn shapes the opinions of those in government and elsewhere who approve funding for such projects, I think pieces like this do more harm than good.

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