- The Washington Times - Friday, June 11, 2004

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — The White House won backing from major allies for a plan to accelerate development of an HIV vaccine, and yesterday President Bush proposed spending $15 million to start it.

The $15 million would gather people at a yet-to-be determined medical center in the United States to advance vaccine research, said Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health.

The Group of Eight developed countries meeting at an economic summit this week in Sea Island, Ga., adopted Mr. Bush’s plan for a “Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise” — a blueprint for speeding up development of a vaccine. The plan, Dr. Fauci said, would:

• Set up HIV vaccine development centers worldwide to coordinate efforts.

• Work to increase the capacity for manufacturing vaccine.

• Standardize laboratories’ measurement systems worldwide so that advances in one lab are usable in others.

• Build a network of clinics for trials.

• Allow regulatory authorities in different countries to recognize clinical trials across borders.

“The body has a lot of trouble handling the HIV virus, which means that there are a lot of scientific problems that we need to solve before we get a vaccine,” he said. “The only way we’re going to do that is if everybody globally who’s working on this works on it in a synergistic way.”

About 14,000 people are infected with the AIDS virus each day, or about 5 million a year. And 3 million die of the disease each year, Dr. Fauci said.