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Medical News & Perspectives |

In HIV Vaccine Efforts, New Strategies and Patience Are Needed in Equal Measure

Joan Stephenson, PhD
JAMA. 2002;288(21):2671-2672. doi:10.1001/jama.288.21.2671.
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Annecy, France—If ever there was a scientific endeavor calling for patience and impatience in equal measure, the quest for an effective HIV vaccine would be it.

On one hand, with 40 million people infected worldwide with HIV and the number growing by some 15 000 newly infected individuals each day, the need for a vaccine has never been more urgent. On the other hand, there are a number of hurdles that have made HIV vaccine research a painfully slow process that demands patience as well as perseverance. For example, HIV's mutability in an infected individual and the global diversity of HIV strains and subtypes (clades), HIV's lifelong persistence in the body, and the need to induce both mucosal and systemic immunity to provide protect against different routes of infection are among the many problems vexing vaccine researchers.

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