AT THE FIRST International Conference on Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in Atlanta, Ga, in 1985, a US government health official confidently predicted that a vaccine for the disease would be available within 5 years. Many of those who heard the prediction laughed, knowing such an optimistic forecast had to be wrong. Last month in Montreal, Canada, at the fifth conference, researchers who have been working on the problem constantly in the interim reported preliminary approaches that hold hope for developing such a vaccine in the foreseeable but unspecified future. Those who listened prayed they might be right.
As the number of persons with AIDS or with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection mounts worldwide, while progress in changing human behavior to stem its spread remains problematic and effective therapy is still minimal, the glimmer of a candidate vaccine, however distant, is magnified.
Dani Bolognesi, PhD, James B. Duke professor, Department of