NEW YORK, Jan. 5, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Adding a vaccine to the comprehensive HIV/AIDS response is essential to conclusively ending the epidemic, according to modeling research published today.
Focusing on the low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) that are home to the vast majority of the world's people living with HIV/AIDS, the study published in PLOS ONE shows that adding a vaccine could dramatically reduce new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths even if other treatment and prevention tools are extensively scaled up.
For example, the analysis shows that a 70-percent-efficacious AIDS vaccine with strong uptake could reduce new annual HIV infections in LMICs by 44 percent in its first 10 years and by 65 percent in 25 years, ultimately averting tens of millions of infections and saving millions of lives.
The study also demonstrates that an AIDS vaccine would be impactful and cost-effective across a wide range of product characteristics. Higher efficacy, longer-lasting protection, fewer doses, lower vaccine costs and a more effective rollout will increase both health impact and cost-effectiveness. The data also illustrate how a vaccine could significantly reduce treatment costs and potentially total HIV/AIDS response costs over time.
"These new analyses underscore the powerful potential of an AIDS vaccine to help save and improve the lives of millions in a cost-effective manner," said Mark Feinberg, President and CEO of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), which conducted the study in partnership with AVAC and Avenir Health. "It is clear that we must continue to expedite development of an effective HIV vaccine alongside the critical efforts to accelerate and sustain broad and equitable access to effective antiretroviral therapy and new approaches for pre-exposure prophylaxis."
"Adding a vaccine to a comprehensive HIV/AIDS response will hasten the end of the global epidemic and ensure that it won't rebound," said AVAC Executive Director Mitchell Warren. "A safe, effective and affordable AIDS vaccine is an essential complement to the existing treatment and prevention options, and this study highlights why accelerated investments are needed for both implementation of what we have and the development of what we still need."
The new study builds on the UNAIDS Investment Framework Enhanced, which articulates how accelerated scale-up of existing HIV/AIDS interventions and the addition of new prevention options could significantly change the trajectory of the global epidemic. The new study adds extensive analysis on the impact of key characteristics of a vaccine (efficacy, duration of protection, number of doses) and of vaccination programs (how many people would be covered with how many visits, cost per regimen, etc.).
The study was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 120 countries worldwide.
The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is a global not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the development of safe, effective, accessible, preventive HIV vaccines for use throughout the world. Founded in 1996, IAVI works with partners in 25 countries to research, design and develop AIDS vaccine candidates. The organization also conducts policy analysis and serves as an advocate for the AIDS vaccine field. It supports a comprehensive approach to addressing HIV and AIDS that balances the expansion and strengthening of existing HIV prevention and treatment programs with targeted investments in the design and development of new tools to prevent HIV. IAVI is dedicated to ensuring that a future AIDS vaccine will be available and accessible to all who need it. IAVI's work is made possible by generous support from many donors including: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark; Irish Aid; the Ministry of Finance of Japan in partnership with The World Bank; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands; the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD); the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The full list of IAVI donors is available at www.iavi.org.This project is made possible by the generous support of the American people through USAID. The contents are the responsibility of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.
Barbara Rosen, BRosen@iavi.org, +1 (646) 206-9331
SOURCE International AIDS Vaccine Initiative